Dr. Robin E. Bell

Lecturer in Earth and Sciences, Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia Climate School

Palisades Geophysical Institute/Lamont Research Professor, Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

Affiliated with: Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

107D Oceanography
61 Route 9W
PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964


Robin Bell, AGU president (2019 – 2020), has been a member of AGU for more than 30 years. She is a past president of the Cryosphere section and was elected as an AGU Fellow in 2011. Bell received her undergraduate degree in geology from Middlebury College in Vermont and her Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia University in 1989. Since completing her doctorate, Bell has led the research at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on ice sheets, tectonics, rivers, and mid-ocean ridges.

Currently, Bell is a Palisades Geophysical Institute (PGI) Lamont Research Professor, directing research programs in Antarctica and Greenland, and she has developed technology to monitor our changing planet. Bell has coordinated 10 major aero-geophysical expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland, studying what makes ice sheets collapse. She has discovered a volcano beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, several large lakes locked beneath two miles of ice, and demonstrated that ice sheets could thicken from below. Bell also led a Lamont team to map the Hudson River from Staten Island to Albany.

In 2006, Bell received an honorary degree from Middlebury College and had an Antarctic Mountain named after her. During the International Polar Year, Bell led a major expedition to Antarctica to explore the last unknown mountain range on Earth, the Gamburtsev Mountains, which were completely covered with ice. Bell’s team discovered that water hidden beneath the ice sheet runs uphill. Using the new IcePod and gravity technologies, Bell’s team is currently exploring the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating piece of ice the size of France that covers the least-known piece of Earth’s ocean floor.



Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
A Day in the Life of the Hudson River 2012 8/15/12 5/15/13
ADVANCE at the Earth Institute 1/1/04 12/31/10
Collaborative Research: A systems approach to understanding linkages between the Ross Ocean and Ice Shelf Environment and Tectonic setting Through Aerogeophysical Surveys and Modeling (ROSETTA-ICE) 6/30/15 8/31/19
Collaborative Research: IPY: GAMBIT: Gamburtsev Aerogeophysical Mapping 10/1/06 9/30/14
Collaborative Research: Polynyas, Ice Production & seasonal Evolution in the Ross Sea (PIPERS) 6/15/16 5/31/19
Day in the Life of the Hudson River 2013 8/26/13 4/30/14
Gravity for Ice Pod 5/21/15 4/30/19
IceBridge 2012-2015: Gravity and Magnetics 12/13/12 2/29/16
Iced sheet Sliding Constrained by Assimilation of Stratigraphic Data 9/1/13 8/31/18
Improved Surface Mass Balance Mapping of Antartica by Quantifying Wind-blown and Sublimated Snow 4/23/14 4/22/18
Innovative Imaging of Changing Ice Sheets in Antarctica 6/18/12 3/31/15
Interdisciplinary Study of the Ocean-Ice Shelf Interface Utilizing IceBridge Data 11/22/11 11/21/14
Investigating the influence of subglacial hydrologic conditions on seasonal velocity in Northwest Gr 9/1/15 8/31/18
NNA Track 1: Predicting coastal responses to a changing Greenland ice sheet 9/1/19 8/31/23
NRA/Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences-2009 8/1/10 8/24/13
PIER: International Collaboration for Education, Training, and Research in Ice Core Science (ICE-ICS) 9/1/10 8/31/17
RAPID: High-Resolution Gravity for Thwaites Glacier 8/15/18 7/31/19
MRI-R2: Development of an ice Imaging System for Monitoring Changing Ice Sheets Mounted on the NYANG LC-130 4/1/14 6/30/15
Subglacial drainage and slip modeling in Antarctica: relating lakes to ice discharge 3/1/11 2/29/16
Subglacial Lakes and the Onset of Ice Streaming: Recovery Lakes 11/1/08 10/31/12
Collaborative Research: Building Geologically Informed Bed Classes to Improve Projections of Ice Sheet Change 8/15/20 7/31/23
Collaborative Research: Uncovering the Ross Ocean and Ice Shelf Environment and Tectonic setting Through Aerogeophysical Surveys and Modeling (ROSETTA-ICE) 9/9/16 8/31/19
Collaborative Research: EarthCube Capabilities: Open Polar Radar (OPoRa) Software and Service 9/1/21 8/31/24
Pan-Antarctic Assessment of Sedimentary Basins and the Onset of Streaming Ice Flow from Machine Learning and Aerogravity Regression Analyses 9/1/21 8/31/23
Implementing Novel Solutions for Promoting Cultural Change In Geoscience Research & Education (INSPIRE) 11/1/22 10/31/27
Implementation Grant: Implementing Novel Solutions for Promoting Cultural Change In Geoscience Research and Education (INSPIRE) 11/1/22 10/31/27


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Detailed Bathymetry of the Continental Shelf Beneath the Getz Ice Shelf, West Antarctica 2020
Multidecadal Basal Melt Rates and Structure of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Using Airborne Ice Penetrating Radar 2020
Sea ice freeboard in the Ross Sea from airborne altimetry IcePod 2016–2017 and a comparison with IceBridge 2013 and ICESat 2003–2008 2020
Evolution of the Seasonal Surface Mixed Layer of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, Observed With Autonomous Profiling Floats 2019
Complex Basal Thermal Transition Near the Onset of Petermann Glacier, Greenland 2018
Identifying Spatial Variability in Greenland’s Outlet Glacier Response to Ocean Heat 2018
Antarctic ice shelf potentially stabilized by export of meltwater in surface river 2017
How much, how fast?: A science review and outlook for research on the instability of Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier in the 21st century 2017
Widespread movement of meltwater onto and across Antarctic ice shelves 2017
New Antarctic gravity anomaly grid for enhanced geodetic and geophysical studies in Antarctica 2016
Rerouting of subglacial water flow between neighboring glaciers in West Greenland 2016
Abbot Ice Shelf, structure of the Amundsen Sea continental margin and the southern boundary of the Bellingshausen Plate seaward of West Antarctica 2015
Bathymetry in Petermann fjord from Operation IceBridge aerogravity 2015
Resolving bathymetry from airborne gravity along Greenland fjords 2015
Bathymetric and oceanic controls on Abbot Ice Shelf thickness and stability 2014
Bathymetric control of tidewater glacier mass loss in northwest Greenland 2014
Freezing of ridges and water networks preserves the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains for millions of years 2014
Traveling slippery patches produce thickness-scale folds in ice sheets 2014
Early East Antarctic Ice Sheet growth recorded in the landscape of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains 2013
Identification and control of subglacial water networks under Dome A, Antarctica 2013
Influence of persistent wind scour on the surface mass balance of Antarctica 2013
Air and shipborne magnetic surveys of the Antarctic into the 21st century 2012
A long-term perspective on a modern drought in the American Southeast 2012
Inversion of IceBridge gravity data for continental shelf bathymetry beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica 2012
Communicating Climate Change Science 2010
Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World 2008
Comparison of AIRGrav and GT-1A airborne gravimeters for research applications 2008
The scope of science for the International Polar Year, 2007-2008 2007
Tectonically controlled subglacial lakes on the flanks of the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountains, East Antarctica 2006
An Experiment in Institutional Transformation: The NSF ADVANCE Program for Women at the Earth Institute at Columbia University 2005
Exploring Subglacial Antarctic Lake Environments 2005
Influx of meltwater to subglacial Lake Concordia, East Antarctica 2005
Integrative Acoustic Mapping Reveals Hudson River Sediment Processes and Habitats 2005
Women, Work, and the Academy 2005
A Framework for the International Polar Year, 2007-2008 2004
Anomalous accumulation rates in the Vostok ice-core resulting from ice flow over Lake Vostok 2004
Bridging the Poles: Education Linked with Research: A Report on the Workshop: 23-25 June 2004, Washington, D.C. 2004
Education and Outreach for the International Polar Year 2004
Estimating the depth and shape of subglacial Lake Vostok's water cavity from aerogravity data 2004
Estuarine Processes and Their Stratigraphic Record: Paleosalinity and Sedimentation Changes in the Hudson Estuary (North America) 2004
Spatial Variations in a Condensed Interval between Estuarine and Open-Marine Settings: Holocene Hudson River Estuary and Adjacent Continental Shelf 2004
Righting the Balance: Gender Diversity in the Geosciences 2003
Integrated Reconnaissance of the Physical and Biogeochemical Characteristics of Jamaica Bay 2001
Subglacial sediments: A regional geological template for ice flow in West Antarctica 2001
Airborne gravimetry: An investigation of filtering 1999
Airborne gravity and precise positioning for geologic applications 1999
Evolutionary Processes a Focus of Decade-Long Ecosystem Study of Antarctic's Lake Vostok 1999
Final Report: Lake Vostok: A Curiosity or a Focus for Interdisciplinary Study? 1999
The rise and fall of early oil field technology: The torsion balance gradiometer 1998
Gravity gradiometry resurfaces 1997
Kinematic Positioning with DGPS: Expanding Frontiers in Aerogeophysics 1997
Gravity field over the Sea of Galilee: Evidence for a composite basin along a transform fault 1996
Structure of the Dead Sea Pull-Apart Basin From Gravity Analyses 1993
Airborne gravimetry from a small twin engine aircraft over the Long Island Sound 1991
Early Mesozoic rift basins of eastern North America and their gravity anomalies: The role of detachments during extension 1988
Evaluation of the BGM-3 sea gravity meter system onboard R/V Conrad 1986