STEM Career Connections

SCIENCE: Glaciologist

SCIENCE: Glaciologist

Education

Glaciologists require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in environmental or earth sciences, climatology, physics, geomatics, or geography. Students may want to seek a masters or doctoral degree in glaciology to do university or government-level research. There are limited schools who offer graduate degrees in glaciology.

Work Description

Glaciology is the study of snow and ice. A glaciologist is one who studies and analyzes the movement and physical properties of glaciers and ice. Glaciologists research characteristics of the Cryosphere that include formation, movement, and effects of other parts of the Earth System. A characteristic of their research is to analyze how glaciers and ice caps move and change due to climate change and how those changes influence the climate and surrounding environment.

Check out this snapshot of the work of one NASA Glaciologist, Dr. Kelly Brunt.

Cryospheric scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Kelly Brunt is one of the scientists on the ICESat-2 mission, which will investigate why, and how much, our cryosphere (frozen parts of the earth system) is changing in a warming climate.

Read more about Kelly and the ICESat-2 mission. or watch a video about Kelly and her team's Antarctic science traverse!

Why is this job Important?

Glaciologists study the effects glaciers have on the world around us. A moving glacier will erode the ground around it, carving out valleys and lifting rocks out of the ground. The discovery of ice on other planets also makes glaciology a vital part of understanding worlds beyond our own, climate change, and sea level rise.

Salary Range

$50,000 - $75,000

NASA Connections

  • Job Title NASA Examples:  

    • Avalanche forecaster
    • Climate change specialist
    • Climatologist
    • Environmental geologist
    • Geographer
    • Hydrologist
    • Limnologist
    • Meteorologist
    • Oceanographer