Graduate Students

Toby Meierbachtol

Toby Meierbachtol

Postdoctoral Researcher


Curriculum Vitae


GEO 488: Snow, Ice, and Climate (team taught)



Ph.D. Geosciences, The University of Montana, 2014

M.S. Geosciences, The University of Montana, 2007 

B.A. Geology, Whitman College, 2003

Research Interests

My research is broadly focused on the dynamics of the cryosphere and its role in the larger climate system. By blending field observations with numerical
techniques I try to elucidate processes driving glacier and ice sheet behavior. Geographically, my previous and current research has been dedicated
to two closely related projects on the Greenland ice sheet. The first focused on development of the subglacial drainage system and feedbacks on ice
motion over a range of temporal and spatial scales. Presently, we are investigating processes controlling the partitioning of ice motion in to
sliding and deformational components through in situ measurements of deformation in boreholes drilled through the ice. These works are broadly
motivated by the role of Greenland in sea level change, and the complex feedbacks between the ice sheet and underlying groundwater systems.


Field of Study

Glaciology, Cryosphere science

Selected Publications


Doyle SH, Hubbard A, van de Wal RSW, Box JE, van As D, Scharrer K, Meierbachtol TW, Smeets PCJP, Harper JT, Johansson E, Mottram RH, Mikkelsen AB, Wilhelms F, Patton H, Christoffersen P and Hubbard B (2015) Amplified melt and flow of the Greenland ice sheet driven by late-summer cyclonic rainfall. Nat. Geosci. 8(July) (doi:10.1038/ngeo2482)

Meierbachtol TW, Harper JT, Johnson J V, Humphrey NF and Brinkerhoff DJ (2015) Thermal boundary conditions on western Greenland: Observational constraints and impacts on the modeled thermomechanical state. J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf. 120, 623–636 (doi:10.1002/2014JF003375)

Meierbachtol T, Harper J and Humphrey N (2013) Basal drainage system response to increasing surface melt on the Greenland ice sheet. Science 341(6147), 777–779 (doi:10.1126/science.1235905)

Bradford JH, Nichols J, Harper JT and Meierbachtol T (2013) Compressional and EM wave velocity anisotropy in a temperate glacier due to basal crevasses, and implications for water content estimation. Ann. Glaciol. 54(64), 168–178 (doi:10.3189/2013AoG64A206)

Brinkerhoff DJ, Meierbachtol TW, Johnson J V. and Harper JT (2011) Sensitivity of the frozen/melted basal boundary to perturbations of basal traction and geothermal heat flux: Isunnguata Sermia, western Greenland. Ann. Glaciol. 52(59), 43–50 (doi:10.3189/172756411799096330)

Harper JT, Bradford JH, Humphrey NF and Meierbachtol TW (2010) Vertical extension of the subglacial drainage system into basal crevasses. Nature 467(7315), 579–82 (doi:10.1038/nature09398)

Meierbachtol TW, Harper JT, Humphrey NF, Shaha J and Bradford JH (2008) Air compression as a mechanism for the underdamped slug test response in fractured glacier ice. J. Geophys. Res. 113(F4), 1–14 (doi:10.1029/2007JF000908)


Oral Presentations:

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humphrey, N F, Wright, P J. 2015. In situ constraints on the relationship between basal water flux, water pressure, and ice velocity from borehole experiments in western Greenland. Presented at International Glaciological Society International Symposium on the Hydrology of Glaciers and Ice Sheets, Hofn, Iceland, 21-26 June.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humphrey, N F, Johnson, J V. 2012. Basal water pressure conditions away from the Greenland ice sheet margin. Presented at 2012 IGS Nordic Branch Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden, 25-27 Oct.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humphrey, N F, Johnson, J V. 2011. Elucidation of basal processes from borehole water level perturbations along a transect of the Greenland ice sheet. Abstract C13C-05 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 5-9 Dec.



Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Johnson, J V, Humphrey, N F, Brinkerhoff, D J. 2013. Data-driven constraints on ice sheet model boundary conditions and comparison to borehole observations in Western Greenland, Abstract C53B-0554 presented at 2013 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 9-13 Dec.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humphrey, N F, Johnson, J V. 2012. Rapid adjustment of Greenland subglacial system to discharge perturbation: in-situ measurements in boreholes, Abstract C43C-0621 presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-7 Dec.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humprey, N F.  2010.  Perturbations to Subglacial Water Storage through Integrated Borehole Impulse Testing: Western Greenland,  Abstract C21B-0540 presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13 - 17 Dec.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Moore, J N. 2007. Modeling Spring Snowmelt Dynamics in a Northern Rockies Basin using a Modified Temperature-Index Model, Eos Trans. AGU, 88(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract C21B-0475.

Meierbachtol, T W, Harper, J T, Humphrey, N F, Bradford, J. 2006. Englacial and Subglacial Water Flow Elucidated by Active and Passive Borehole Experiments: Bench Glacier, Alaska, Eos Trans. AGU, 87(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract C31A-1229.





Professional Experience

Staff Hydrogeologist, 2008 - 2009, Landau Associates, Edmonds, WA