Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning
Department of Geography and Planning
Photo of Dr. Laura Thomson

Laura Thomson

Assistant Professor
Canada Research Chair
Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D128
613-533-6000 ext. 75913

On leave July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022

Canada Research Chair in Integrated Glacier Monitoring Practices

I grew up enjoying the wonderful community of Williams Lake in the central interior of British Columbia before heading east to study in the Department of Earth Sciences at Western University as a Loran Scholar (’04). Here I received BSc and MSc degrees in Geophysics and Planetary Science, while also completing a one year research internship in glacier mapping at the University of Northern British Columbia. My PhD research at the University of Ottawa focused on the glaciers of Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, where I now maintain the long-term (>50 year) glacier monitoring program. I have been fortunate to hold fellowships with the Western Canada Cryospheric Network, with the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation Team, and to work as a visiting scientist at the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) at the University of Zürich. I pursued Postdoctoral studies in Glaciology at Simon Fraser University under the mentorship from Dr. Gwenn Flowers, where we investigated the impact of changing ice temperatures on ice motion and the long-term stability of Arctic glaciers. I am thrilled to be joining the Queen’s Geography and Planning community in 2018 and am looking forward to fostering new collaborations in the years to come.


  • BSc Geophysics, Western University
  • MSc Geophysics and Planetary Science, Western University
  • PhD Glaciology, University of Ottawa


  • White Glacier

Research Interests:

I am interested in the active monitoring and prediction of northern landscape evolution using innovative geospatial, geophysical, and climate-coupled modelling techniques designed to identify and address current challenges facing the rapidly changing Arctic. The Queen’s Glaciology Group supports graduate and undergraduate projects that integrate Remote Sensing, GIScience, and in situ environmental monitoring to understand the processes responsible for observed changes from Arctic ice masses. Our research projects aim to identify the critical spatial and temporal scales of impact, and improve the quality and capacity of environmental monitoring approaches at these scales to determine the governing geomorphological and climate-coupled processes at play. Field-based research projects will be conducted in the Canadian Arctic, with a current focus on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, which hosts a rich historic archive of climate and environmental monitoring records dating back to 1959.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF 102 kB)