Energy Career Profile: Glaciologist

Are you looking for a career in the energy sector that is rewarding, interesting and that sounds really cool? Then grab your laptop and start your application to be a glaciologist.

As global warming ramps up and the polar ice caps continue to decline at unprecedented rates, there has never been a more important time to pay attention to glaciers. From the Arctic Circle down to Patagonia and Antarctica, icebergs and glaciers are diminishing, which means rising sea levels and loss of habitat for a number of creatures that call these icy regions home. The future of the world’s ice-bound regions is looking dim, but promising glaciologists could be part of the force that repairs the situation.

The Basics of the Job

Glaciologists study the physical properties, formation and movements of ice caps, glaciers, ice shelves and any other large chunks of ice and snow. You will analyse how climate change affects these ice shelves and, in turn, how they affect the climate.

One day you might be trekking across a glacier to collect recordings as to how far it has moved since you first installed markers in it. The next day you may take samples from the walls of an ice shelf in order to analyse the annual level of snowfall. You will also use this data to discover what sort of pollutants affect the area and to measure the effects this has on the ice caps.

Job Duties

Being a glaciologist means having a huge range of different job duties. There will be a lot of responsibility and you will work hard but every day will be bring new and exciting challenges so you’re unlikely to ever be bored. One of your main duties will be travelling to icy regions and collecting samples from the glaciers and ice shelves found there. You will then use these samples for data analysis and research purposes back in the lab.

When you find yourself sat at a desk, your job will be to compile your findings into reports. These reports may be designed to inform others of the situation or to help find solutions to any problems you have discovered. You may also need to liaise with the media regarding any notable discoveries you make.

Where You Will Be Working

If you don’t like the idea of being stuck behind your desk for eight hours a day every day then being a glaciologist should suit you just fine. While there will be periods of you being deskbound, there will also be large chunks of time when you will be out in the field. Trips to uninhabited parts of the world, such as the harsh but extremely beautiful Antarctica, will be on the cards. Essentially, anywhere that has big chunks of ice could become your office for the week. You may also be required to spend time in the lab conducting practical experiments in controlled conditions.

Who to Work For

As with most energy jobs, there is always a need for experts and specialists within the government. However, if that’s not something you feel you can get behind there are plenty of other opportunities with NGOs, academic institutions, and consultancy firms.