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Publications in VIVO

Pfeffer, W. Tad



Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • W. Tad Pfeffer is a glaciologist whose research is focused on glacier mechanics and dynamics, on dynamics of ocean-ending glaciers, and glacier contributions to sea level. Over the past 30 years he has worked mostly on field and experimental projects aimed at discovering the processes underlying glacier motion and response to environmental forcing. More recently, starting with his participation with the Snow, Ice, Water, and Permafrost (SWIPA) assessment (2007-2011), he has moved into assessment, guidance, and science policy. He served (2010-2014) as a Lead Author in Working Group I for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). During 2015-2016 he served as a Jefferson Science Fellow in Washington, DC, assigned to the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia.


  • Glacier mechanics and dynamics, sea level rise, adaptation to sea level rise, Geologic hazards, geotechnical engineering, architecture and architectural history, science policy


selected publications


courses taught

  • CVEN 2012 - Introduction to Geomatics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Summer 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
    Presents basic techniques of land and construction surveying, including measurement of position, elevation, orientation and length of lines, area, volume and layout calculations. Optical, GPS and GIS equipment and methods are included.
  • CVEN 2121 - Analytical Mechanics 1
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Summer 2021 / Summer 2022
    Applies mechanics to the study of static equilibrium of rigid and elastic bodies. Includes composition/resolution of forces; moments/couples; equivalent force systems; free-body diagrams; equilibrium of particles and rigid bodies; forces in trusses/beams; frictional forces; first/second moments of area; moments and products of inertia. Degree credit not granted for this course and GEEN 2851 and MCEN 2023.
  • CVEN 3698 - Engineering Geology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Summer 2023 / Spring 2024
    Highlights the role of geology in engineering minerals; rocks; surficial deposits; rocks and soils as engineering materials; distribution of rocks at and below the surface; hydrologic influences; geologic exploration of engineering sites; geologic hazards; mapping; and geology of underground excavations, slopes, reservoirs and dam sites.
  • CVEN 4899 - Civil Engineering Senior Project Design
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Provides a simulated real world design and construction planning experience where teams integrate across multiple civil engineering sub-disciplines to create a solution that satisfies multiple constraints, including design, client requirements, budget, schedule, technical, regulatory, and societal. Final deliverables include: detailed design drawings, specifications, cost estimate, project schedule, construction plan, oral and written presentation.


International Activities

Other Profiles


  • wtpfeffer