Dr. Laura Thomson

Assistant Professor
Queen's Department of Geography and Planning


Learn more about Dr. Laura Thomson

Current Team

Madeline Myers

Maddie's PhD research aims to achieve high-resolution modelling of glacier surface energy balance and melt in the northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago through improved down-sampling using northern weather station networks.

Wai Yin (Wilson) Cheung

In partnership with the Parks Canada, Wilson's research aims to (1) assess multi-decadal glacier area and volume change using a range of remote sensing techniques, and (2) work towards a sustainable, field-based glacier monitoring approach for the future.

Sophie Zajaczkiwsky

Sophie joined the ICELab in 2021 applying topographic analysis to improve glacier outlines for RGI v7.0. However, Sophie's heart is in the forest and her current MSc research focuses on using hyperspectral remote sensing techniques (PRIMSA) to improve the classification of forest types in Eastern Ontario. 


Sofia Guest

Sofia joined ICELab remotely as a research assistant in spring 2021 to explore techniques for generating elevations from historical air photos (circa. 1960) over the Canadian Arctic. We are looking forward to Sofia joining us for her MSc studies, focusing on Arctic ice- and firn-core analysis, at Queen's in Fall 2023 in collaboration with the Canadian Ice Core Lab at the University of Alberta.

Laura Holleran

Laura joins ICELab as a BSc Thesis student from the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy at Queen's University. Laura's research will analyse synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) backscatter to estimate melt extent across glaciers in Auyuittuq National Park . Previous field data, contemporary observations, optical imagery will serve as cross-calibration tools in this study.

Miles Ecclestone

As head technician in the Department of Geography at Trent University, Miles Ecclestone took on field-management of the White Glacier monitoring program in the mid-1980s, and he remains a pivotal part of our glacier monitoring activities today. We're grateful for his guidance, expertise, and humour in and beyond the field!

ICELab Alumni

Jeremiah Lee, MSc

Surface features of the cold/temperate transition zone
Jeremiah's MSc investigated how glacier surface structures (faults, folds, and crevasses) respond to changes in ice thickness, flow dynamics and thermal regime of White Glacier on Axel Heiberg Island, NU. White Glacier is one of the few polar glaciers to host detailed information about surface structures dating back >50 years. Using historic air photos and maps alongside new photo surveys, Jeremiah created 3D models of the White Glacier terminus to assess the evolution of surface structures and test for structural evidence of the cold-/temperate-ice transition zone.

Thesis link

Evan Koncewicz, MSc

Characterization of dissolved fluvial carbon in High Arctic headwater streams
Evan’s thesis integrated data from 146 streams spanning Axel Heiberg Island and the Sabine Peninsula, Melville Island, NU to investigate how fluvial dissolved organic and inorganic carbon varies as a function of different landscape characteristics. Digital elevation models, remote sensing products were used to assess DOC and DIC against variables such as slope, aspect, hydrological complexity and distribution, vegetation cover, permafrost disturbances, glacier presence, and geology.

Evan's Thesis link

Shona Birkett, BSc

Multi-decadal snow pit analysis
As a summer research assistant from the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, Shona took on the ambitious task of digitizing >30 years of snow-pit data from the White Glacier mass balance records. This snow-pit data includes not only the key snow-water equivalent values used for our mass balance calculations, but also detailed information about individual snow-layer densities, thicknesses, grain shape and grain size. Shona created a snow-pit database and accompanying analytical tools in python that provide new insight into snow accumulation patterns that will inform our studies about firn formation and distribution.

Braden Smeda, MSc

Area and Volume Changes of Adams Icefield
Braden applied a combination of field-based and remote sensing methods to investigate changes to the small glaciers of Adams Icefield (unofficial name), Axel Heiberg Island. Small glaciers are highly sensitive to recent climate warming yet notably understudied, particularly at individual basin scales. Braden used the Baby Glacier mass balance record alongside historic and contemporary air photos and Structure from Motion techniques to build 3D models for the determination of glacier volume change. (Co-supervised by Dr. Luke Copland, University of Ottawa)

Braden's Thesis link

Dana Stephenson, MSc

Firn Pack Changes on White Glacier
Dana's MSc research explored the spatial patterns of, and temporal changes to, high-Arctic glacier firn zones using a combination of ice-penetrating radar, firn-core measurements, and geospatial analysis. This work demonstrated the topographic controls on firn distribution and distribution changes in response to regional warming over the past twenty years. High-elevation firn zones are a significant source of uncertainty in glacier mass change studies as a result of their capacity for meltwater retention and through surface lowering by densification. When not riding snowmobiles or working in the lab, Dana spent her time at Queen's running, bouldering, and bringing together fellow graduate students for camping trips and other shenanigans. (Co-supervised by Dr. Luke Copland, University of Ottawa)

Dana's Thesis link