Grant MacdonaldGraduate Student

Research Focus:
Hinds 459

Research Interests

I developed an interest in glaciology as an undergraduate at Edinburgh and in particular, glacial hydrology. At the University of Chicago, under the supervision of Dr Douglas MacAyeal and Dr Alison Banwell (at UC Boulder/SPRI, Cambridge), I am researching supraglacial lakes on ice shelves and how they affect ice-shelf stability.  My work particularly focuses on the floating tongue of Petermann Glacier, Greenland and the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica.  I use a combination of remote sensing, modelling and fieldwork (I have deployed to the McMurdo Ice Shelf three times for our work).  My work is supported by a NASA ESSF fellowship.

Educational and Academic History

  • PhD in Glaciology, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, USA (2014-)

  • MPhil in Polar Studies (with distinction), Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK (2012-2013)

  • Research Assistant in Glaciology/Hydrology, Centre de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas (CEAZA), Chile (2011-2012)

  • BSc (Honours) in Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK (2007-2011)

Courses TAed

  • PHSC 13400 Global Warming (autumn and spring quarters)
  • PHSC 13600 Natural Hazards

Glaciological Fieldwork Experience

  • McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, (Impact of supraglacial lakes on ice-shelf stability, UChicago/USAP) December/January (2015/16), October/November (2016), January/February (2017)
  • Northern Chilean Andes, (for CEAZA), over 2 months accumulated November-April (2011-12)
  • West Greenland, (for University of Bristol), July/August 2011
  • West Greenland, (for University of Edinburgh), July/August 2010


  • Macdonald, G.J., Banwell, A.F. and D.R. MacAyeal, 2018, Seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes on a floating ice tongue, Petermann Glacier, Greenland. Annals of Glaciology doi:10.1017/aog.2018.9
  • Banwell, A.F., Willis, I.C., Macdonald, G.J., Goodsell, B., Mayer, D.P., Powell, A. and D.R. MacAyeal, 2017. Calving and rifting on the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology doi:10.1017/aog.2017.12