Dr Laura Stevens awarded an Arne Richter Award for outstanding early career scientists

Dr Laura Stevens awarded an Arne Richter Award for outstanding early career scientists

Dr Laura Stevens, Oxford Earth Sciences Associate Professor, is a recipient of a 2024 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists.

Each year the European Geosciences Union (EGU) recognises an outstanding early career scientist in each of its disciplinary Divisions.  Of these, four of the awardees are selected for the union-wide Arne Richter Award, recognising particularly outstanding achievements across all fields of geoscience.  The awards are presented annually at the EGU General Assembly.

Dr Stevens’ research is in the field of ice-sheet dynamics, and how ice-sheet melting can drive changes in ice-sheet flow. Their work on ice-sheet dynamics in Greenland and Antarctica is vital for an improved understanding of global ice volumes, the vulnerability of these ice masses, and their effects on sea level.

Before taking up their post in Oxford, Laura earned a PhD in Geophysics in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program and a BA in Geosciences at Wellesley College, both in Massachusetts, USA.

Dr Stevens utilises geophysical, oceanographic and atmospheric observations; computational modelling; and inverse methods to achieve a greater comprehension of ice-sheet behaviours in the past, present, and future. They are particularly focused on combining observations of how the ice sheet deforms when meltwater makes its way from the surface to the bed of the ice sheet, using geophysical inversion and modelling techniques that can better explain the underlying physics driving the observed ice-sheet response.

Their most recent work, published in the journal Nature Communications, examined observations of supraglacial lake drainage at Helheim Glacier, an outlet glacier of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and determined that the highly efficient subglacial drainage system resulted in a limited effect on the rate of discharge.

For the past two years, most of Laura’s research time has been focused towards co-leading a deployment of a multi-sensor array around clusters of supraglacial lakes in central-west Greenland. Having studied single-lake drainages in detail since their PhD work, this project presents an opportunity to better understand how single lake-drainage events may interact with each other over wider spatial and temporal scales. “We’ve just starting the data-analysis phase of this project in the past few months and the data quality has been incredible so far. I’m excited to start putting together the sciences stories from these data alongside the large team of engineers, scientists, and students involved with this work.”

Congratulations Dr Stevens!


A full list of recipients of the 2024 EGU Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards can be viewed on the EGU website.

Photo Caption: Associate Professor Laura Stevens checks the status of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) antenna tracking ice-sheet deformation nearby a supraglacial lake in central-west Greenland. Photo by Geir Akse (Air Greenland).