Sam Herreid

Sam Herreid

glaciologist, runner, musician, writer


I am a postdoc at the OSU Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center working on exciting new carbon-free energy resources. I decided to shift to green energy because it is an exceptionally fast paced field with a lot of potential to make a societal contribution. More so than my fixation on studying rocks on glaciers, but I still independently work on this problem because I like it. And it contributes to better understanding future water resources and sea level rise. My publications on glaciers have spanned field studies in Alaska to global analyses. Currently, I am writing an open-source forward model predicting the distribution of rock debris on glaciers several hundreds of years into the future.

Open scientific knowledge is foundational to human advances. Foundational knowledge is often not directly coupled to profit and cannot be truncated by political boundaries. Currently in academics, the dissuasion for junior scientists to continue to pursue foundational research is palpable. This needs to change. To contribute to this effort, I co-founded the US-based nonprofit Open Climate Research Collective (OCRC), to reimagine scientific funding. 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. My show is unique because I try to play thoughtfully written music within a somewhat absurd arrangement of playing piano and drums at the same time. I also run a lot. I occupy that grey area of running where I can casually qualify for Boston but am light-years away from making the Olympic Trials. My preference is to run very long distances on trails, but right now I live in a flat New Jersey beach town. I make the best of it. Which is sometimes funny. And I sometimes write comedy articles about it. Links below.

  • Using rock debris on glaciers to model impacts of climate change
  • Contributing scientifically to the global transition to green energy
  • Writing, recording and performing music on my baby grand piano
  • Ultra distance trail and adventure running
  • Comedy writing
  • PhD in Glaciology, 2019

    Northumbria University

  • BSc in Geology, 2014

    University of Alaska Fairbanks


EP tracklist:

  • Graubünden
  • Chamonix
  • Ирина
  • Green Mountain
  • Spring Lake nights

Demos are scattered around YouTube, SoundCloud, IG Reels and TikTok.


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2023 race season

March 25th – Mt. Tammany 10 64 km, 3000 m d+ (8:16:10, 2nd OA)

July 13th – New York City Twilight 5000 m on the track (17:50)

July 19th – Philidelphia Twilight 5000 m on the track (17:28)

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Photo: Henwood’s Hounds. Ichan Stadium, July 13, 2023


(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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(2020). The state of rock debris covering Earth’s glaciers. In Nat Geosci..

PDF Cite Code Dataset Project Supplemental

(2018). Automated detection of ice cliffs within supraglacial debris cover. In The Cryosphere.

PDF Cite Code Project

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


OSU Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
Postdoctoral researcher
May 2023 – Present Ohio, USA (remote)

Responsibilities include:

  • Software engineer
  • Machine learning for geophysical applications
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