Matthew Beedle

University of Northern British Columbia
PhD Candidate
Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Drs. Brian Menounos and Roger Wheate, Department of Geography
Funding Period: 
2010 to 2013
Communicating the implications of climate change through the study of glacier recession

Glaciers in British Columbia cover over 25,000 km2, but few studies detail glacier response to climate change, and the impacts of these changes on water resources; still fewer effectively disseminate their results to BC residents.  Stakeholders requiring information about current and projected glacier decline include BC Hydro (energy generation), the natural resource sector (mineral, oil and gas exploration and development), BC Parks, farmers and municipalities (freshwater availability). Since BC is blessed with thousands of glaciers, nearly all residents of the Province can identify with a ‘local’ glacier, but many do not appreciate the complex interplay between climate, glacier response, and changes in water availability. Matt's research provides a novel and demonstrable way to communicate the science and implications of climate change. His work focuses on reconstructing past glacier extent and monitoring current glacier fluctuations, with the ultimate goal of discerning climatic forcing of glacier change and implications for water resources in western Canada. As visible, independent indicators of climate change - and as iconic natural features - glaciers and glacier change can play a vital role in knowledge translation of climate change. With the support of PICS, Matt is also working towards new methods of communicating climate change via glaciers and human interaction with them. 

For more information visit Our ever-changing glaciers: Imagery, science, and art.

Matt holds a BSc in earth science from Montana State University and an MA in geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU). While at CU, he also completed a graduate certificate in environment, policy and society. His MA work focused on glacier change in southeast Alaska and relations to climate variability. Matt is originally from Juneau, Alaska where he grew up with numerous ‘local’ glaciers. His passion for ice was solidified through participation in the Juneau Icefield Research Program, which brings groups of students to the Juneau Icefield - from Juneau to Atlin, BC - for two months each summer. While Matt’s work focuses on glacier and climate change he is constantly endeavoring to broaden his work to include science communication, environmental policy, and field-based education. Matt is based at UNBC’s regional campus in Terrace where he teaches in the new BSc - integrated program.

Project Poster, June 2012