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Dr Steven Palmer

Dr Steven Palmer

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography


 01392 725807

 Amory C407


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK

 Office hours:

Office hours for Term-1 of 2022/23: Mon & Tues 15:00-16:00

Please note: in weeks 10-12 Steve will be on a research visit, so please email to arrange a Teams meeting.


Office hours for Term-1 of 2022/23: Mon & Tues 15:00-16:00

Please note: in weeks 10-12 Steve will be on a research visit, so please email to arrange a Teams meeting.

I use a range of Remote Sensing approaches to make observations of Earth surface processes, with a particular focus on the Cryosphere. 

Broad research specialisms:

  • Remote sensing of Earth surface processes
  • Glacier hydrology and ice dynamics
  • Ice sheet basal conditions




Steven studied Earth and Space Science at University College London, where his dissertation, based at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, used X-ray telescope observations to identify Active Galactic Nuclei. He then moved to Cranfield University and gained a MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering, after which he worked as Mission Systems Engineer in the Earth Observation group of EADS Astrium Ltd. Steven then worked briefly at the British Antarctic Survey before embarking on a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, where he used satellite radar measurements to investigate the flow dynamics of Arctic glaciers. Following this, he conducted fieldwork on the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica as part of a project investigating Antarctic peninsula ice shelf instability. Steven then moved to the University of Leeds, where his work aimed to reduce uncertainties in the future contribution of the ice sheets to global sea level change. Before joining the University of Exeter as a lecturer in physical geography, Steven participated in a NERC-funded airborne geophysical survey of Greenland outlet glaciers, during which time he was based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

Research group links


Research interests

Steve uses a combination of Remote Sensing techniques to investigate Earth surface processes ranging from dust storms to coastal erosion. His main research focus has been quantifying glacier flow and form changes as they respond to climate forcing. Using airborne ice penetrating radar, Steve has also investigated conditions at the base of the Greenland ice sheet - better understanding of which is key to making more accurate projections of how the ice sheets are likely to change under continued global heating.

Research projects


  • NERC ARSF survey of Langjokull Ice Cap, Iceland, summer 2013.
  • NERC Grant NE/H020667: Airborne geophysical investigations of basal conditions at flow transitions of outlet glaciers on the Greenland Ice Sheet (PDRA)
  • TanDEM-X data grant XTI_GLAC0430: Linking hydrology and dynamics at the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet using surface elevation and velocity change observations.
  • NERC Grant  NE/M000869/1: Basal Properties of the Greenland Ice Sheet (CoI)


Research networks

Steve co-leads the Remote Sensing theme of Exeter's Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI)


External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

Member of the English Riveria Educaion Strategy Board

Member of the Royal Geographical SW region committee

External positions

Visiting researcher at University of Sussex (2017)

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science fellow, Hokkaido University (2021)


Steven is an Exeter Education Incubator Fellow and leads the InVEnTA project: Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment, which won the Times Higher Education Innovation award 2020.

In 2022 he was confirmed as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy




Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Sarah Albaqami jointly supervised by Dr Jeroen Meersmans
  • Oliver Bartlett
  • Cristina Corti
  • Ellie Fox
  • Charlotte Pearson

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