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 these evolutions in the snowpack of 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.

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 in the changes in flow direction and the relation with tides, using satellite data (GO_LIVE and ITS_LIVE data), with the objective of identifying links with the weakening and destabilization of ice shelves.