I am fascinated by earth-water-atmosphere interactions, and from an early age discovered a love of mountains. The culmination of my multi-disciplinary educational path was an Earth Sciences doctoral dissertation focused on deglaciation in the tropical Andes, out of which spawned ideas and questions that motivate this research group. I have come to appreciate tropical glaciers as climatically sensitive components of the cryosphere that literally crown the terrestrial hydrological cycle. Even though the vast majority of fresh water on this planet resides in much larger polar ice caps, it is arguable that these smaller, low-latitude ice masses are more directly linked to people. They exist on remote mountains and buffer surface water availability in underdeveloped nations within the heavily populated tropical regions of our planet that are also source of heat driving global climate. It has been estimated that one-sixth of humanity relies on snow and ice melt for sustaining their water supplies. Changes to tropical glaciers over different scales thus elucidate important climate information, and also impact to human society. Our group conducts different aspects of transdisciplinary research to quantify and trace the changes of these remote ice masses through space and time.
I am a PhD student at the Department of Geography and Byrd Polar Research Center. My broad research interests include; glaciology, alpine and polar landscapes and environments, climate, environmental and landscape change, human interactions with and impacts upon the environment, remote sensing, and GIS. I am especially interested in Andean Latin America and the environmental issues that these societies face. Specifically, I am interested in studying changes driven by glacier recession, climate change, and agricultural expansion. I am also interested in the impacts of these changes on the regions hydrological resources, which are extremely important in Andean Latin America for agriculture, hydroelectricity and basic survival.
Robert Battista (BS 2016)
I just graduated, majoring in Chemical Engineering and Geography. Specifically, I am working with the water chemistry team focusing on trace metal research in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. I am hoping to expand on this to also be able to look at accumulation of metals elsewhere within this region. Working with Dr. Mark, I hope to be able to better understand the chemical processes that are occurring in the Cordillera Blanca.