Robert W. Jacobel

Department of Physics
St. Olaf College  
1500 St. Olaf Ave
Northfield, MN 55057
(507) 786-3124 



University of California, Berkeley (A.B. Physics, 1968).

Iowa State University (Ph.D. Experimental Particle Physics, 1973).
Dissertation: The Non-Strange Neutral Meson Spectrum from Pion-Proton Collisions at 2.4 GeV/c.


Professional Experience

1989-              Professor of Physics, St. Olaf College

Current Research: Climate-related geophysical studies of ice sheets and glaciers using radar and satellite remote sensing. Field sites in the Antarctic, Greenland, Alaska, Sweden, New Zealand and the Washington Cascades. PI/PD, U.S. Antarctic Research Program since 1986.

Teaching: Maxwell's Equations, Modern Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Advanced Laboratory, Astronomy, Geophysics, Introductory Physics (both calculus and non-calculus based); Environmental Science: Intro, Climate Change and Capstone.

Special Courses Developed:  Interim courses in geology and land use issues, with field studies in Grand Teton National Park and the Utah Canyonlands. Leader 2000 Environmental Science in Australia abroad program, a half-year study of terrestrial ecology, marine biology and environmental policy. Seminar course on climate and global change. Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies seminars - various topics.

Paracollege Tutor:  Appointment 1977-1996 as a tutor in the St. Olaf Paracollege, an alternative educational structure based on the British tutorial and examination system. Individual and small group work with students in physics, geosciences, environmental studies, and other interdisciplinary studies and projects outside of the traditional curriculum.

2010-1011      Visiting Scientist, Gateway Antarctica Centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ (sabbatical leave)

2004-2010     Grace A Whitter Professor and Chair of the Physics Department

2003-2004      Visiting Scientist, British Antarctic Survey and University of Stockholm, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (sabbatical leave)

1989-2003      Director/ Chair, St. Olaf Environmental Studies Program/ Department - Helped found and develop an interdisciplinary program in environmental studies/science that became a full department in 2003.  Administrative responsibilities for program, curriculum, and faculty.

1996-1997      Visiting Scientist, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury,  Christchurch, NZ (sabbatical leave)

1989-1990      Visiting Scientist, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of  Colorado, Boulder (sabbatical leave)

1983-1989      Associate Professor of Physics, St. Olaf College

1982-1983     Visiting Scientist, Geophysics Program, University of Washington (sabbatical leave)

1976-1982     Assistant Professor of Physics, St. Olaf College

1974-1976     Assistant Professor of Physics, Buena Vista College

1968-1973     Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, Iowa State University - Built and operated a missing mass spectrometer at the Argonne National Laboratory Zero Gradient Synchrotron to study neutral meson spectra for new particles.  Graduate teaching assistant, plus elective teaching assignments during dissertation work.


Selected Publications

St. Olaf student coauthors are indicated by an asterisk (*)

Christianson, K, R. Jacobel, H. Horgan and S. Anandakrishnanb, 2012.  Subglacial Lake Whillans: A Shallow Active Reservoir Beneath a West Antarctic Ice Stream; Part 1: Ice Penetrating Radar and Kinematic GPS Surveys, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, (submitted).

Horgan, Huw J., Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Robert W. Jacobel, Knut Christianson, Richard B. Alley, David Heeszel, Stefano Picotti and Jacob Walter, 2012. Subglacial Lake Whillans: A Shallow Active Reservoir Beneath a West Antarctic Ice Stream; Part 2: Active Source Seismic Surveys, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (submitted).

Arcone, S.A., R.W. Jacobel and G.S. Hamilton, Unconformable stratigraphy in East Antarctica, Part I: Influence of bed topography, ice flow and metamorphism on antidunal accumulation in firn, Journal of Glaciology (in review).

Arcone, S.A., R.W. Jacobel and G.S. Hamilton, Unconformable stratigraphy in East Antarctica, Part II: Low frequency GPR profiles of englacial bedding sequences and metamorphic layers, Journal of Glaciology (in review).

Jacobel, R.W., K. E. Lapo, J.R. Stamp, B.W. Youngblood, B.C. Welch and J.L. Bamber, 2010. Comparison of Basal Reflectivity and Ice Velocity in East Antarctica, The Cryosphere 4, 447–452, 2010, doi:10.5194/tc-4-447-2010.

Fricker, H.A., R. Powell, J. Priscu, S. Tulaczyk, S. Anandakrishnan, B. Christner, D. Holland, H. Horgan, R. Jacobel, J. Mikucki, A. Mitchell, R. Scherer and J. Severinghaus, 2011. Siple Coast Subglacial Aquatic Environments: The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project, Chapter 12 in AGU Geophysical Monograph Series 192, Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments, eds. Martin J. Siegert, Mahlon C. Kennicutt II, and Robert A. Bindschadler, ISBN 978-0-87590-482-5.

Arcone, S.A. and R.W. Jacobel, 2010.  Effects of surface topography and wind on reflection horizons in ice sheets, IEEE Conference Proceedings, 13th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR-2010), 1-6, doi:10.1109/ICGPR.2010.5550271.

Jacobel, R.W., B.C. Welch, *D. Osterhouse, R. Pettersson and J.A. MacGregor, 2009.  Spatial Variation of Radar-Derived Basal Conditions on Kamb Ice Stream, Annals of Glaciology 51(51), 10-16.

Welch, B.C., R.W. Jacobel and S.Arcone, 2009.  Indications of non-steady conditions in East Antarctica from US-ITASE radar surveys, Annals of Glaciology 51(51), 35-41.

Willis, I., W. Lawson, I.Owens, R. Jacobel and J. Autridge, 2009.  Subglacial drainage system structure and morphology of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, Hydrological Processes 22(24), 0–0 (2008). DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7146.

*Campbell, I.C., R.W. Jacobel, B.C. Welch, R. Pettersson, 2008.  The evolution of surface flow stripes and stratigraphic folds within Kamb Ice Stream - why don’t they match?, Journal of Glaciology 53(186), 421-427.

Welch, B.C., *K. Dwyer, *M. Helgen, C. Waythomas and R.W. Jacobel, 2007. Geophysical survey of the intra-caldera icefield of Mt. Veniaminof, Alaska, Annals of Glaciology 45, 58-65.

Jacobel, R.W., B.C. Welch, E.J. Steig and D.P. Schneider, 2005. Hercules Dome – an optimal site for deep ice core drilling, Journal of Geophysical Research 110, F01015, DOI:10.1029/2004 JF000188.

Jacobel, R.W and B.C. Welch, 2005. A time marker at 17.5 KYBP detected throughout West Antarctica, Annals of Glaciology 41, 47-51.

Welch, B.C. and R.W. Jacobel, 2005. Bedrock topography and wind erosion sites in East Antarctica, observations from the 2002 US-ITASE traverse, Annals of Glaciology 41, 92-96.

Fountain, A.G., R.Schlichting, P. Jansson and R.W. Jacobel, 2005.  Observations of englacial flow passages – a fracture dominated system, Annals of Glaciology 40, 25-30.

Fountain, A.G., R.W. Jacobel, R.Schlichting and P. Jansson, 2005. Fractures as the main pathways of water flow in temperate glaciers, Nature 433, (7026), 618-621.

Siegert, M.J., B.C. Welch, A.Vieli, D.D. Blankenship, I.M. Joughin, E.C. King, G. Leysinger Vieli, A.J. Payne and R.W. Jacobel, 2004. Ice flow direction change in interior West Antarctica revealed by internal ice sheet layer distortions, Science 305 (5692), 1948-1951, DOI: 10.1126/science.1101072.

Welch, B.C. and R. W. Jacobel, 2003. Analysis of deep-penetrating radar surveys of West Antarctica, US-ITASE 2001, Geophysical Research Letters 30 (8), 1444, DOI:10.1029/2003GL017210.

Jacobel, R.W., *E.P. Peterson, *D.R. Stone and A.G. Fountain, 2003.  Studies of englacial water in Storglaciären using GPR - year two, Tarfala Research Station Annual Report 2001-2002, Per Klingbjer (Ed), Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University.

Miners, W.D., E.W. Wolff, J. Moore, R.W. Jacobel and L. Hempel, 2002.  Modeling the radio reflections inside the ice sheet at Summit, Greenland, Journal of Geophysical Research 107 (B8), (10.1029/2001JB000535).

Anandakrishnan, S., R.B. Alley, R.W. Jacobel and H. Conway, 2001. The flow regime of ice  stream C and hypotheses concerning its recent stagnation, in The West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Behavior and Environment, R.B. Alley and R.A. Bindschadler, Ed.'s, AGU Antarctic Research Series 77, 283-294.

Jacobel, R.W., T.A. Scambos, *N.A. Nereson and C.F. Raymond, 2000. Changes in the margin of ice stream C, Antarctica, Journal of Glaciology 46 (152), 102-110.

*Nereson, N.A., C.F. Raymond, R.W. Jacobel and E.D. Waddington, 2000. The accumulation pattern across Siple Dome, West Antarctica, inferred from radar-detected internal layers, Journal of Glaciology 46 (152), 75-87.

*Gades, A.M., C.F. Raymond, H. Conway, H. and R.W. Jacobel, 2000. Bed properties of Siple Dome and adjacent ice streams, West Antarctica, inferred from radio echo-sounding measurements, Journal of Glaciology 46(152), 88-94.

*Nereson, N. A., C.F. Raymond, E.D. Waddington and R.W. Jacobel, 1998. Migration of the Siple Dome ice divide, West Antarctica, Journal of Glaciology 44 (148), 643-652.

Fountain, A.G. and R.W. Jacobel, 1997. Advances in ice radar studies of a temperate alpine glacier, South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA, Annals of Glaciology 24, 303-308.

Jacobel, R.W., T.A. Scambos, C.R. Raymond and *T.A. Gades, 1996. Changes in the configuration of ice stream flow from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," Journal of Geophysical Research 101(B3), 5499-5504.

Bindschadler, R., P. Vornberger, D Blankenship, T. Scambos and R. Jacobel, 1996. Surface velocity and mass balance of ice streams D and E, West Antarctica, Journal of Glaciology 42 (142), 461-475.

Waddington, E., D. Morse, R. Alley, S. Anandakrishnan, J. Bolzan, G. Clow, K. Kuffey, J. Cunningham, D. Dahl-Jensen, J. Firestone, N. Gundestrup, S. Hodge, C. Schott Hvidberg, R. Jacobel, N. Nereson, C. Raymond and K. Taylor, 1995. The Role of Glacier Geophysics in the GISP2 Ice Core Program, Arctic Research of the United States 9, 10-19.

Jacobel, R.W. and S. M. Hodge, 1995. Radar internal layers from the Greenland summit, Geophysical Research Letters 22 (5), 587-590.

Jacobel, R.W. and *B. J. Grommes, 1994. Internal layer folding patterns from radar studies of Ice Streams B and C, Antarctic Journal of the United States XXIX (5), 66-68.

Jacobel, R.W., *A.E. Robinson and R.A. Bindschadler, 1994. Studies of the grounding line location on ice streams D/E, Antarctica, Annals of Glaciology 20, 39-42.

Jacobel, R.W., *T. Gades, *D. Gottschling, S. Hodge and D. Wright, 1993. Interpretation of radar-detected internal layer folding in West Antarctic ice streams, Journal of Glaciology 39 (133), 528-537.

Jacobel, R.W. and R.A. Bindschadler, 1993. Radar studies at the mouths of ice streams D and E, Antarctica, Annals of Glaciology 17, 262-268.

Jacobel, R., *S. Anderson and *D. Rioux, 1992. A microprocessor based ice-radar system for surface profiling, in Ground Penetrating Radar, Geological Survey of Canada Paper 90-4, 101-105.

Jacobel, R., S. Hodge and D. Wright, 1990. Studies of internal layering and bedrock topography on ice stream C, West Antarctica, Antarctic Journal of the United States XXV (5), 82-85.

Hodge, S., D. Wright, J. Bradley, R. Jacobel, N. Skou and B. Vaughn, 1990. Determination of the surface and bed topography in central Greenland, Journal of Glaciology 36 (122), 17-30.

Wright, D., S. Hodge, J. Bradley, T. Grover and R. Jacobel, 1990. A low-frequency, surface profiling digital ice-radar system, Journal of Glaciology 36 (122), 112-121.

Jacobel, R., *S. Anderson and *D. Rioux, 1988. A portable digital data acquisition system for surface-based ice-radar studies, Journal of Glaciology 34 (118), 349-354.

Jacobel, R. and *S. Anderson, 1987. Interpretation of radio-echo returns from internal water bodies in Variegated glacier, Alaska, U.S.A., Journal of Glaciology 33 (115), 319-323.

Jacobel, R. and C. Raymond, 1984. Radio-echo sounding studies of englacial water movement in Variegated glacier, Alaska, Journal of Glaciology 30 (104), 22-29.

Jacobel, R.W., 1982. Short term variations in velocity of the South Cascade glacier, Washington, U.S.A., Journal of Glaciology 28 (99), 325-332.

Jacobel, R.W., 1980. Resources and technology in developing nations, a semester study abroad, Journal of College Science Teaching IX (4), 193-196.

Jacobel, R.W., 1977. Winter Environmental Study in the Grand Tetons, Journal of College Science Teaching VI (5), 301-303.

Cheshire, D., R. Jacobel, R.C. Lamb, F. Peterson, A. Garfinkel and E. Hoffman, 1972. Observation of three narrow neutral mesons in the vicinity of 950 MeV, Physical Review Letters 28 (8), 520-523.

Jacobel, R.W., D. Cheshire, R.C. Lamb, F. Peterson, A. Garfinkel and E. Hoffman, 1972. Evidence for a neutral meson at 1150 MeV, Phyical Review Letters 29 (10), 671-674.

Garfinkel, A., E. Hoffman, R. Jacobel, R. Lamb, F. Peterson and D. Cheshire, 1972. Evidence for a Neutral Meson near 1033 MeV, Physical Review Letters 29 (21), 1477-1481.


Grants, Awards, Honoraries

 NSF Office of Polar Programs

            WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, with multiple institutions) 2009-

            US-ITASE –2 Traverse (with multiple institutions), 2005 - 2010

            Ice-Radar Studies of Mt. Veniaminof Volcano, 2004-2007

            Kamb Ice Stream Reactivation (with U.C. Santa Cruz), 2004-2008

Englacial Conduits on Storglaciaren, Sweden (with Portland State U.), 2001-2005

US-ITASE Traverse (with multiple institutions), 1999-2005

Siple Dome Glaciology (with U. of Washington), 1994-98

            St. Olaf REU Research Site in Glacier Remote Sensing, 1993-96, 1996-2000

            Radar Internal Layer Modeling (with U. Wyoming), 1992-93

            Siple Coast Glaciology (with NASA), 1991-94

            Ice Stream Radar Data Analysis, 1989-92

            Antarctic Ice Streams (with USGS), 1986-89

            Digital Radar Development, 1984-1987

            Surge of Variegated Glacier, Alaska (with U. Washington), 1982-83


 USGS Volcano Hazards Observatory

Ice Radar Studies of Mt. Veniaminof Summit Caldera, 2004-07

 NASA Oceans and Ice Program

Radarsat Image Analysis, 2001-09


St. Olaf Honors Day Convocation address, 2010 (streaming program)

Invited address at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Luther College, 2006

Jacobel Glacier (pdf map), Sulzberger Coast Antarctica, named, 2004.

Melby Memorial Lecture, St. Olaf College, November, 1990.

Science Museum of Minnesota, consultant on Antarctica exhibit, 1990-91.

U.S. Antarctic Service Medal, National Science Foundation, 1988

Pew Foundation support for summer research 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993.

Mellon Foundation Faculty Development research grants 1979, 1980 and 1981.

Outstanding Physics Graduate Student Teaching Award, Iowa State University, 1970.


Professional Memberships, Offices, Service

Board of Editors, Journal of College Science Teaching, 1978-86

Publications Committee, National Science Teacher's Association, 1978-84

Member:  American Geophysical Union

International Glaciological Society

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Sigma Xi