Sam’s new website !

Here, you will find content on glacier research, software development, the new nonprofit Open Climate Research Collective, a new EP featuring songs about ultra trail running, comedy running articles and maybe even some latte art

From Alaska to Europe and now the Jersey Shore, you can catch up on all of Sam’s current interests and projects below.

Sam's new website !
Sam Herreid

Sam Herreid

glaciologist, runner, musician, writer, barista


I am an independent glaciologist with a specialization in understanding how rock debris on the surface of glaciers alters the melt rate of the ice below. My work on this subject extends up to the global scale, but I also have a specific focus on the Alaska Range: the mountain playground of my 20s and a poorly studied subset of Earth’s glaciers. I am currently developing several open-source software packages, including a forward model predicting the next several hundreds years of debris cover evolution.

Self-financing science is not a particular desire of mine; however, it affords me the ability to focus strictly on the topics that I think I am best qualified to work on and for which I have the highest potential to make a societal impact. I am confident I am not the only scientist who has the potential for valuable scientific output but falls outside of the traditional academic model. This is why in early 2022, I co-founded the US-based nonprofit Open Climate Research Collective (OCRC), to reimagine scientific funding for junior scientists. More information about supporting or receiving funding from OCRC can be found here.

Outside of academics, I am a multi-instrumentalist currently writing and recording a solo EP capturing the lifestyle and culture around ultra distance trail and mountain running. The music is inspired from my experiences racing and training around Europe and North America. My running also provides the underlying stories for comedy running articles in print and online running publications.

In parallel to my science, running and music, I like being rooted to the community around me. I work part time in a cafe in Asbury Park, New Jersey and enjoy engaging with my customers while fine-tuning the subtle craft of pouring latte art.

  • Rock debris on glaciers
  • Advancing regional to global scale glacier models
  • Restructuring the financing of climate science
  • Ultra distance running either in the mountains or in urban settings
  • Music that captures the culture and lifestyle of ultra trail running
  • Comedy writing about trail running
  • Pouring competitive latte art
  • PhD in Glaciology, 2019

    Northumbria University

  • BSc in Geology, 2014

    University of Alaska Fairbanks


In 2021 I bought a baby grand piano. I am currently writing and recording an EP of songs capturing the lifestyle and culture around ultra trail running. I’m not exactly sure what the end product will be, since I write simultaneously for tracked recording, but also single take live performances. I’m not sure if a Spotify album would be strictly one, or the other, or possibly a mix or two versions of each track 😂

I like releasing music as soon as I make it, which is what is posted here. Three tracks from the forthcoming album. Are they demos? Are they final cuts with fun raw blemishes? No one really knows. All I can say is I have a piano in my living room and when I hear a song in my head, it isn’t too long before it’s a file on my laptop. And then will very likely appear on this website.


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Upcoming races in 2023

March 25th – Mt. Tammany 10 64 km, 3000 m d+ (not bad for New Jersey 😂)

Recent Publications

(2021). Why is Denali (6,194 m) so big? Caught inside the tectonic wake of a migrating restraining bend. In Terra Nova.

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(2021). Losing the Arctic (Book Chapter). In “Whither the Arctic Ocean” (Ed. P. Wassmann) Page 125-133.

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(2021). Mapping ice cliffs on debris-covered glaciers using multispectral satellite images. In RSE.

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(2015). Satellite observations show no net change in the percentage of supraglacial debris-covered area in northern Pakistan from 1977 to 2014. In J. Glaciol..

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Open Climate Research Collective
A nonprofit focused on restructuring science financing
See-G(IS code)
A tool to visualize spatial data in complex methods
Debris Cover Evolution
Modeling how glaciers will look 100s of years into the future
Global scale analyses and products
Publicly available data. A refined and consistent version of the RGI and a global debris cover map.
Thermal imagery in glaciology
High resolution thermal data for glacier and debris cover research
Landslides on glaciers
Half hobby / half research interest, visiting supraglacial landslides in the Alaska Range
Debris Cover Tools
Python-based toolkit to include debris cover in glacier melt models


Open Climate Research Collective
Co-founder, Executive Director
Jan 2022 – Present New Jersey, USA

Responsibilities include:

  • Business planning
  • Fund-raising / public speaking
  • VR development
  • Scientifc direction
Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft
Research Assistant
Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft
Jan 2019 – Jul 2019 Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Responsibilities included:

  • Global scale glacier analysis
  • Proposal writing