Kristin Poinar uses remote sensing and numerical models to study the interaction of meltwater with ice flow, especially on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Why you should listen

Hidden under many meters of ice, a pool of meltwater lies under the Greenland Ice Sheet. Kristin Poinar studies how the meltwater forms and flows in this dynamic glacial system. She asks: How did this water get there, and where does it go? How much water is in there? And how is climate change affecting this system?

Using data from Operation IceBridge flights and from field instruments, she's building a numerical model of how crevasses form and channel water. In fact, a NASA report released in February 2017 revealed a new pathway her team discovered for meltwater to reach the ocean. Using physically based models to constrain the bounds of what is realistic has shaped Poinar's interest in glaciology.

Poinar is currently a postdoctoral researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She will be moving to the University at Buffalo in winter 2017 to be a professor in the Geology Department and the RENEW Institute.

Kristin Poinar’s TED talk