Heather Regan


Heather Regan is an ice-ocean modeller. She completed her doctorate jointly at the British Antarctic Survey and Cardiff University in 2017 with the title “Modelling the sources, variability and fate of freshwater in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica”.

Heather Regan is interested primarily in interactions between sea ice and the ocean, and the effects of freshwater on the upper ocean in the polar regions. What we call freshwater here is the less saline seawater found in polar oceans. It is “fresh” because of river run-off, icebergs, ice shelves and sea ice melting. It plays an important role in the large-scale ocean circulation, with the potential to impact the global climate. During her PhD she used a model (MITgcm) to analyse the contributions of different freshwater sources to the freshwater budget for a sea adjacent to Antarctica. She has also worked on understanding the dynamics of the Beaufort Gyre, an ocean circulation system containing large amounts of freshwater in the Arctic. She used both satellite observations and a high-resolution simulation (NEMO) for this work.

She currently uses our sea-ice model neXtSIM coupled to an ocean model covering the entire Arctic region. She has developed a way to track multiyear ice in neXtSIM to analyse the physical processes driving its evolution. Multiyear ice is sea ice that has survived a summer melt, and it is a good proxy for understanding the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice. Currently she is using the coupled simulation to understand the impact of a heterogeneous ice cover (such as leads) on upper ocean properties, like temperature and salinity.

  • Ocean
  • Modelling
  • Sea ice