Leigh Stearns studies outlet glacier dynamics in both Greenland and Antarctica, using satellite remote sensing techniques, field based observations, and numerical modeling. Her research addresses questions of short- and long-term ice sheet dynamics by utilizing innovative geophysical technology, developing new remote sensing products, and building numerical ice-flow models.
Leigh teaches environmental geology, geomorphology, glaciology and a number of independent studies and seminars. She is interested in climate education and literacy, at all ages.
Glaciers and ice sheets play an important role in the climate system, yet their mass balance is poorly understood and so constitutes one of the largest sources of uncertainty in predictions of future sea level rise. Leigh's approach to this complex problem is to investigate the physical processes that govern glacier variability; in particular, she specializes in the generation and analysis of observational records (ranging from hourly to multi-decadal) of glacier flow using a range of geophysical and remote sensing techniques. Details about her research and current projects are available on her glaciology website.