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Dr Stephen Chuter

Dr Stephen Chuter

Dr Stephen Chuter

Research Associate in Sea Level Research

Area of research

Remote sensing of ice sheet dynamics and mass balance

Office S1, 12 Berkeley Square
University Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 42 82368


My research focuses on using remote sensing satellite observations to better understand the response of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets to global climate change. These observations are critical to our understanding of how the ice sheets are responding to changes in both atmospheric and oceanic forcing over multiple decades; subsequently improving our ability to assess their present-day contribution to Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) rise and help inform future projections. I combine these observations with novel statistical approaches to produce reconciled estimates of ice sheet mass balance over the last two decades. These estimates have been included in multi-method assessments of the global sea level budget (World Climate Research Programme). Additionally, I used these satellite observations to monitor ice sheet processes and their subsequent impact on ice dynamics.

My PhD used the novel European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite radar altimetry mission to better quantify the thickness of the Antarctic ice shelves. These provide buttressing to the grounded ice sheet, regulating its flow and providing stability to the grounded ice sheet. In addition, this new thickness product was used to assess uncertainties in ice sheet mass balance at the drainage basin scale. My PhD was funded by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) studentship and received a commendation from the Faculty of Science. Additionally, it won the University of Bristol 2018 Faculty Doctoral Prize for the Natural Environment and Life Sciences. 

My current research combines a diverse range of satellite observations and ground based datasets in order to produce a reconciled estimate of ice sheet mass balance for both Greenland and Antarctica, in addition to quantifying the processes driving this change (e.g. changes in surface mass balance or changes in ice sheet dynamics/ice flow). Combining these observations is challenging due to their varying spatial and temporal resolutions in addition to them measuring a combination of multiple processes, which are challenging to separate without the use of forward geophysical models. To address this challenge, I use statistical approaches such as Bayesian Hierarchical Modelling (BHM) in order to integrate these observations. This research is part of the European Research Council (ERC) GlobalMass Horizon2020 project, based at the university of Bristol. 


I am currently Research Associate at the University of Bristol, working on the (ERC) GlobalMass Horizon2020 project as lead PDRA of the Land Ice work package. Previously I completed my PhD at the University of Bristol in March 2018, which received a commendation from the Faculty of Science and the 2018 Faculty Doctoral Prize for the Natural Environment and Life Sciences. My research interests and focus over my career to date include: the application of satellite radar altimetry over ice sheets, monitoring ice sheet dynamics using multiple satellite observation datasets, the use of novel statistical methods to ice sheet processes and large data processing techniques applied to geophysical datasets (both satellite and in-situ). My research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals and I have participated in international inter-comparison exercises (WCRP Sea Level Budget).

In addition to my research, I have delivered undergraduate and postgraduate teaching (lectures, field trip assistant and lab practical exercises). I have also organised and chaired short courses at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly. I am an active participant in science communication and outreach, providing blog contributions to the EGU Cryosphere Division blog. Linked to outreach and communication, I am currently Principal Investigator on the ‘Interactive visualisation of Antarctic mass trends from 2003 until present’ research project, funded by the Jean Golding Institute (JGI). 

January 2014 - March 2018

Geography PhD - University of Bristol (School of Geographical Sciences)

Thesis topic: The investigation of Antarctic ice sheet properties utilising data from the Cryosat 2 mission, with particular emphasis on the mapping and monitoring of grounding line flux

Supervisors: Professor Jonathan Bamber, Dr Rory Bingham 

October 2010 - June 2013

Geography BSc - University of Southampton (School of Geographical Sciences)

Dissertation topic: Measuring glacial retreat with respect to climate in the Mont Blanc Massif, France, through the development of a standardised remote sensing methodology



  • Remote Sensing
  • Glaciology
  • Cryosphere
  • Sea level
  • Climate Change
  • Big Data Analytics

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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