Christine McCarthy: A Cheerleader for the Physics of Ice

Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, scrunches blocks of ice between hunks of rock to study how ice behaves under pressure. Her work provides an important piece of the puzzle of how glaciers move, what makes them speed up, and how they are contributing to sea level rise as the climate warms.

David Funkhouser
June 26, 2017

Christine McCarthy is an ice squeezer: In her lab at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory she scrunches blocks of ice up against slabs of rock, puts them under pressure and studies how the ice moves. These small-scale experiments in physics provide clues to how massive glaciers around the world move. It’s important information if you’re trying to understand how fast and how soon the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland might slide into the ocean and raise sea levels as the climate warms.

In this video, the latest in a series about what we do at the Earth Institute, McCarthy, a Lamont assistant research professor, talks about her work, and how her passion for rock climbing helped turn her into a scientist. For more in the series, look here.

Video production by the Columbia News video team.