Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Gabriela Collao Barrios

Research Interests

  • Snow processes
  • Ice dynamics (Glaciers and ice shelves)
  • Glaciers surface mass balance

Current Research

I currently work on two different aspects of the cryosphere: (i) the snowpack evolution in the Rocky Mountains, and (ii) the ice dynamics changes in the Amundsen Sea Embayment ice shelves in Antartica.

Spatial and temporal evolutions of snow accumulation and melt exert dominant control on hydrological resources and biogeochemical flows in temperate mountain catchments.  I investigate the main processes involved in snowpack evolution in the East River basin in the Rocky Mountains, combining modeling, field measurements, and spatially distributed data from the NASA’s SnowEX campaigns. I am particularly interested in the effect of wind redistribution, dust in albedo, and land cover. (This work is part of the DOI project: "Multiscale, Process‐based Seasonal Snowpack Dynamics Observations and Modeling to Support Water and Solute Storage and Flux Accounting in the LBNL Watershed Function SFA"; Supervisor: Jeffrey Deems)


Ice shelves are key components of glacier outlet systems, providing a resisting stress on glacier flow and keeping an important control on ice sheet discharge and mass loss, thereby affecting sea level rise rates. I study ice dynamic changes on ice shelves located on the western side of the Amundsen Sea Embayment, the region with the largest ongoing ice mass loss. My research focus on ice flow direction changes and their relation to tides using satellite data (GO_LIVE and ITS_LIVE data), the objective of identifying links with the weakening and destabilization of ice shelves. (This work is part of the GoLive project in collaboration with TARSAN Thwaites Glacier project; Supervisor: Ted Scambos)