Portrait of Michelle Maclennan
Graduate Student
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

I use she/her/hers pronouns. 


Bachelor of Arts

Mathematics and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, summa cum laude, University of Colorado Boulder (2019)

Research Interests: Thwaites Glacier, surface mass balance, extreme snowfall events, Antarctic atmospheric rivers

I research the impacts of snowfall and extreme precipitation events on the surface mass balance of West Antarctica, in particular Thwaites Glacier. I examine how large-scale atmospheric circulation over the Southern Ocean, including the coupling of low- and high-pressure systems, helps to drive warm and moist air masses onto the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. On Thwaites Glacier, I study the surface mass balance impacts of extreme snowfall events by looking at observations from automatic weather stations, atmospheric reanalysis, and climate models. My research is part of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, TARSAN project. Recently, I have started looking into the impact of atmospheric rivers (narrow bands of warm and moist air that travel south from the midlatitudes) on Thwaites Glacier and Antarctic precipitation.

In December 2019 I graduated from the University of Colorado with an honors thesis on the Large-Scale Atmospheric Drivers of Snowfall over Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica. I am now a second-year PhD student in the Ice Sheets and Climate group, working with Prof. Jan Lenaerts. 

In my free time I love bouldering, hiking, skiing, and cooking.