Sue Cook

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Sue Cook

Ice Shelf Glaciologist
Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC

Room 317.24 , IMAS Hobart

+61 3 6226 6997 (phone)

Dr Sue Cook is an ice shelf glaciologist working for the Antarctic Gateway Partnership at the University of Tasmania. She works as part of a community of ice sheet scientists in Hobart, whose research aims to measure Antarctica’s current mass loss, understand the physical processes driving change, and develop the models used to predict Antarctica’s future sea level rise contribution.


Sue joined UTAS in 2015 working as a glaciologist for the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC. During her time at UTAS she has worked on developing new models of icebergs calving, participated in multiple Antarctic field seasons, and contributed to teaching Antarctic science at UTAS. Prior to arriving in Tasmania she completed her PhD at Swansea University, on the topic of environmental controls on iceberg calving from tidewater glaciers. She then worked for two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University Centre in Svalbard where she continued her research into iceberg calving processes.

Career summary


  • PhD (2012): Environmental Controls on Calving in Grounded Tidewater Glaciers. Swansea University, UK
  • MPhys (1st Class Hons, Physics) (2007): Oxford University, UK


Professional practice

2009-present: International Glaciological Society


Teaching expertise

Dr Cook has experience in undergraduate level teaching of statistics, and postgraduate teaching of software development, ice sheet modelling and glaciology.

View more on Dr Sue Cook in WARP


Sue’s primary research theme is investigating the processes affecting mass loss from Antarctic ice shelves, a major control on future sea level rise. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining numerical modelling of fracture, iceberg calving and ice flow on Antarctic ice shelves with observational work measuring ocean driven melt and changes in ice dynamics around East Antarctica. Specific research themes include:

  • Understanding mass loss from glaciers and ice sheets through iceberg calving
  • Developing numerical models of fracture processes in glacial ice
  • Use of geophysical techniques to track ocean-driven melt of Antarctic ice shelves
  • Applications of airborne geophysics for crevasse detection and field safety
  • Use of GPS to investigate ice sheet dynamics

Research Themes

Sue’s work aligns with the University’s Marine, Antarctic and Maritime research theme. Her research contributes to the IMAS Strategic Plan 2017-2022 priority area Cryosphere and Solid Earth which focuses research on Antarctic Ice Sheet contributions to past, present and future sea level rise, and ice-shelf and ocean interactions. She works as part of a broad group of glaciologists based in Hobart who tackle these issues using a combination of fieldwork, remote sensing, and numerical modelling to improve understanding of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.


Dr Cook is actively collaborating on model development with researchers from CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. In Finland, where the ice dynamics model Elmer/Ice and a discrete particle model for modelling ice fracture were developed.

Current projects

Fields of Research

  • Glaciology (370902)
  • Physical oceanography (370803)
  • Seismology and seismic exploration (370609)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences (280107)
  • Antarctic and Southern Ocean ice dynamics (180401)
  • Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts) (190503)
  • Natural hazards (190499)
  • Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes (180402)
  • Climate change models (190501)
  • Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts) (190507)


Sue regularly publishes high-impact papers on glaciological themes in journals such as The Cryosphere, Journal of Glaciology and Journal of Geophysical Research. She is an expert reviewer for a wide range of journals including The Cryosphere, Journal of Glaciology, Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters.

Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2021Astrom J, Cook S, Enderlin EM, Sutherland DA, Mazur A, et al., 'Fragmentation theory reveals processes controlling iceberg size distributions', Journal of Glaciology pp. 1-10. ISSN 0022-1430 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/jog.2021.14 [eCite] [Details]


2021Craw L, Treverrow A, Fan S, Peternell M, Cook S, et al., 'The temperature change shortcut: effects of mid-experiment temperature changes on the deformation of polycrystalline ice', Cryosphere, 15 pp. 2235-2250. ISSN 1994-0416 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5194/tc-15-2235-2021 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Craw L; Treverrow A; Roberts J


2021Vankova I, Cook S, Winberry JP, Nicholls KW, Galton-Fenzi BK, 'Deriving melt rates at a complex ice shelf base using in-situ radar: application to Totten Ice Shelf', Geophysical Research Letters, 48, (7) Article e2021GL092692. ISSN 0094-8276 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2021GL092692 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Galton-Fenzi BK


2020Gwyther DE, Spain EA, King P, Guihen D, Williams GD, et al., 'Cold ocean cavity and weak basal melting of the Sorsdal Ice Shelf revealed by surveys using autonomous platforms', JGR Oceans, 125, (6) Article e2019JC015882. ISSN 2169-9275 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2019JC015882 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Gwyther DE; King P; Guihen D; Williams GD; Evans E; Richter O; Galton-Fenzi BK; Coleman R


2020Thompson SS, Cook S, Kulessa B, Winberry JP, Fraser AD, et al., 'Comparing satellite and helicopter-based methods for observing crevasses, application in East Antarctica', Cold Regions Science and Technology, 178 Article 103128. ISSN 0165-232X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2020.103128 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Thompson SS; Kulessa B; Fraser AD; Galton-Fenzi BK


2019Schaap T, Roach MJ, Peters LE, Cook S, Kulessa B, et al., 'Englacial drainage structures in an East Antarctic outlet glacier', Journal of Glaciology, 66, (255) pp. 166-174. ISSN 0022-1430 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/ jog.2019.92 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Schaap T; Roach MJ


2018Cook S, Astrom J, Zwinger T, Galton-Fenzi BK, Greenbaum JS, et al., 'Modelled fracture and calving on the Totten Ice Shelf', The Cryosphere, 12 pp. 2401-2411. ISSN 1994-0416 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5194/tc-12-2401-2018 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Galton-Fenzi BK; Coleman R


2018Cook S, Galton-Fenzi BK, Ligtenberg SRM, Coleman R, 'Brief communication: widespread potential for seawater infiltration on Antarctic ice shelves', The Cryosphere, 12, (12) pp. 3853-3859. ISSN 1994-0416 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5194/tc-12-3853-2018 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Galton-Fenzi BK; Coleman R


2017Benn DI, Astrom J, Zwinger T, Todd J, Nick FM, et al., 'Melt-under-cutting and buoyancy-driven calving from tidewater glaciers: new insights from discrete element and continuum model simulations', Journal of Glaciology, 63, (240) pp. 691-702. ISSN 0022-1430 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/jog.2017.41 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 49Web of Science - 47


2015Murray T, Scharrer K, Selmes N, Booth AD, James TD, et al., 'Extensive retreat of Greenland tidewater glaciers, 2000-2010', Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, 47, (3) pp. 427-447. ISSN 1523-0430 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1657/AAAR0014-049 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 43Web of Science - 41


2014Cook S, Rutt IC, Murray T, Luckman A, Zwinger T, et al., 'Modelling environmental influences on calving at Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland', The Cryosphere, 8 pp. 827-841. ISSN 1994-0416 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5194/tc-8-827-2014 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 58Web of Science - 58


2012Cook S, Zwinger T, Rutt IC, O'Neel S, Murray T, 'Testing the effect of water in crevasses on a physically based calving model', Annals of Glaciology, 53, (60) pp. 90-96. ISSN 0260-3055 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3189/2012AoG60A107 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 29


2010Murray T, Scharrer K, James TD, Dye SR, Hanna E, et al., 'Ocean regulation hypothesis for glacier dynamics in southeast Greenland and implications for ice sheet mass changes', Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 115, (F3) Article F03026. ISSN 2169-9003 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1029/2009JF001522 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 140Web of Science - 124


Other Public Output

(14 outputs)
2021Cook SJ, 'The birth of a mega Antarctic iceberg', Interview by Mark Doman, ABC News, Australia, 05 March (2021) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]


2021Cook SJ, 'Glaciers are shrinking faster every year', Interview by Lauren Fuge, Cosmos Magazine, Australia, 29 April (2021) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]


2020Cook SJ, 'Giant Antarctic iceberg on collision course with British territory of South Georgia by Graham Readfearn', The Guardian, Guardian News & Media Limited, Australia, 04 November (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]


2020Cook SJ, 'Living on the ice edge', Interview for Earshot by Miyuki Jokiranta, ABC Radio National, Australia, 07 November (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]


2018Cook S, 'How a near-perfect rectangular iceberg formed', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group, Ltd., Australia, 29 October (2018) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]


2017Cook S, 'Interview on the Larsen C ice shelf fracture', ABC The World Today, Australian Broadcast Corporation, Hobart, Tasmania, 01 June (2017) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Cook SJ, 'Is meltwater speeding up disintegration of Antarctic glaciers?', ABC 7:30 hosted by Leigh Sales, Australian Broadcast Corporation, Australia, 22 February (2017) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Cook SJ, 'Ominous signs for Larsen C ice shelf', The Science Show, ABC Radio National, Hobart, Australia (2017) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Cook SJ, 'Larsen C ice shelf sheds a trillion-tonne ice berg', The Wire, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, July 13 2017 (2017) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Gwyther DE, Cook S, Galton-Fenzi B, Fraser A, Graham F, et al., 'Position analysis: the Antarctic ice sheet and sea level', Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Tasmania (2017) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Gwyther DE; Galton-Fenzi B; Fraser A; Graham F; Kusahara K; Treverrow A; Jong LM; Roberts J; Rintoul S; Worby A; van Ommen T


2016Cook S, 'Crack in Antarctic ice sheet expected to create iceberg the size of Brisbane', The World Today with Eleanor Hall, ABC Radio National, Australia, 23 August (2016) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2016Dow C, Graham F, Cook SJ, 'What lies beneath Antarctica's ice? Lakes, life and the grandest of canyons', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group, Victoria, Australia, 18 July (2016) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Graham F


2016Etheridge D, Cook S, Worby T, 'What do Climate Scientists get up to in Antarctica?', Beyond Zero Emissions Radio, 3CR Community Radio, podcast, Mon 5-6pm 2nd May (2016) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Worby T

2016Graham F, Gwyther D, Jong L, Cook S, 'Tipping point: how we predict when Antarctica's melting ice sheets will flood the seas', The Conversation, 14 March (2016) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Graham F; Gwyther D; Jong L


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Detecting change in the outlet glaciers of East Antarctica using seismology (2021 - 2023)$622,270
This work aims to establish a way of detecting change in the great outlet glaciers of East Antarctica by analysing the small vibrations made by moving water or by cracking and sliding ice. Change in these glaciers is very significant because they hold back over 10 m of potential future sea level rise, but many melt and movement processes are hidden from satellite view. Expected outcomes include a semi-automated approach for remote area glacier monitoring using seismic signals, and recommendations for cost-effective future instrument deployments in key areas of East Antarctica. The new capability will be world-leading and pragmatic, enabling the risks of accelerated future coastal inundation affecting Australia to be better anticipated.
Australian Research Council ($622,270)
Grant-Discovery Projects
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Reading AM; Forbes LK; Cook SJ; Beroza G; Kulessa B
2021 - 2023
Grant Reference
Outlet glacier dynamics in Princess Elizabeth Land (2015)$0
The proposed research aims to initiate a program of observations of East Antarctic marine-terminating outlet glaciers, focussing over a three-year period on East Ranvik and Sorsdal Glaciers near Davis Station. We plan to determine to what extent processes known to enhance ice margin sensitivity to environmental forcing in Greenland and West Antarctica are at work at these two glaciers, which are logistically appealing due to their proximity to an Australian station.
Department of Environment and Energy (Cwth) ($0)
Grant-Australian Antarctic Science
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Schoof C; Coleman R; Galton-Fenzi B; Horgan H; Joughin I; King MA; Kulessa B; Legresy B; Treverrow A; Watson CS; Cook SJ

Research Supervision

Sue has supervised Honours and PhD-level students on a range of topics related to ice sheet science. She is keen to hear from motivated students who have an interest contributing to projects that address questions on ice dynamics and ice-ocean interaction.






PhDThe Influence of Marine Ice on Ice Shelf Dynamics and Stability2018
PhDSensitivity of the Lambert-Amery Glacial System to Ice Sheet Model Boundary Conditions2019


PhDProcesses Controlling the Calving Regime of the Sorsdal Glacier, East Antarctica
Candidate: Eleri Evans