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Nicolas Cullen

Position:

Associate Professor

Qualifications:

MSc(Cant), PhD(Colorado)

Office Hours:by email appointment

 


Teaching

ENVI111 Environment and Society
ENVI311 Understanding Environmental Issues
GEOG101 Physical Geography
GEOG282 Climate Change: Present and Future
GEOG290 Field Research Methods
GEOG380 Field Research Studies (Science)
GEOG388 Climate Change: Present and Future
GEOG460 Climatology

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Research Interests

Nicolas' research interests are in all aspects of meteorology and climatology. The study of the atmosphere inevitably involves an understanding of other components of the global environment, which for Nicolas has been primarily the cryosphere.  Much of his research has focused on the interactions of the atmosphere with snow and ice surfaces in the high and mid-latitudes, as well as on a number of high mountains in the tropics (e.g. Kilimanjaro). Nicolas is also interested in the impacts of atmospheric processes on human behaviour, in particular air pollution meteorology, utilizing wind for energy through turbine development and issues related to climate change on local to global scales.  The research that Nicolas undertakes is dependent on a combination of field data, remote sensing observations and modelling.

Click here to view Research Project Profiles

Click here to view Recent Research Grants

Click here to view PhD positions available

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Current Postgraduate Supervision

Todd Redpath (PhD), PhD thesis topic: A multi-scale approach to assess the four-dimensional (4D) distribution of snow water equivalent (SWE) in complex terrain in New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Pascal Sirguey, co-supervisors: Nicolas Cullen, Sean Fitzsimons).

Angus Dowson (MSc), MSc thesis topic: Glacier surface albedo from MODIS data and links to annual mass balance for the Gardens of Eden and Allah, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisor: Pascal Sirguey).

Lucy Just (MSc), MSc thesis topic: Modelling the hydrological significance of snowmelt to seasonal stream flows (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisor: Pascal Sirguey).

Kerryn Little (MSc), MSc thesis topic: Ocean-atmosphere controls on mass balance variability of Brewster Glacier, Southern Alps (Primary Supervisor: Daniel Kingston, co-supervisors: Nicolas Cullen, Pascal Sirguey).

Florence Mills (MSc) MSc thesis topic: Comparing water yield between tussock grasslands and Manuka shrublands (Primary Supervisor: Sarah Mager, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

Mitch Rawlyk (MSc) MSc thesis topic: What a Bud Kill: a meteorological investigation of frost incidence in the complex terrain of Central Otago, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

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Recent Postgraduate Supervision

2018, Inka Koch (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: Marine ice formation and deformation at the Southern McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica (Primary Supervisor: Sean Fitzsimons, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2017, Xiaolin Wu (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: Understanding the past, current and future transport and fate of semi-volatile organic compounds in remote alpine glacier-fed lakes in New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Kimberly Hageman, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2016, Andreas Jobst (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: The potential impacts of climate change on the hydro-climate of the Clutha/Mata-Au catchment (Primary Supervisor: Daniel Kingston, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2015, Jeremy Bell (MSc), Title of thesis: Avalanche awareness and decision making in backcountry terrain, Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2014, Peter Gibson (MSc), Title of thesis: Multi-scale atmospheric and climate phenomena in the context of the wind resource assessment: a case study in complex, coastal terrain (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen). Received the New Zealand Geographical Society's President's award for Best Master's thesis in Geography in 2014.

2014, Nick Price, (MSc), Title of thesis: A multi-scale assessment of the air pollution climatology of Alexandra, New Zealand using a combination of field observations and statistical and physical based modelling (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2013, Nicolle Britland (MSc), Title of thesis: Surface climatology and ablation on the floating section of the Petermann Glacier, Greenland (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2013, Jono Conway (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: Constraining cloud and airmass controls on the surface energy and mass balance of Brewster Glacier, Southern Alps of New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisors: Sean Fitzsimons, Rachel Spronken-Smith).

2012, Gregor Macara (MSc), Title of thesis: Spatial and temporal variability of snowpack stability in the Craigieburn Valley, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2012, Seth Gorrie (MSc), Title of thesis: The scientific and cultural aspects of renewable energy development success in Samoa (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisor: Jenny Bryant-Tokalau).

2011, Michael Winkler (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: Kilimanjaro Ice Cliffs morphology, recession, micro-climate, and how they determine glacier area loss (Primary Supervisor: Georg Kaser University of Innsbruck, Austria, co-supervisors: Nicolas Cullen and Thomas Mölg).

2011, Dorothea Stumm (PhD), Title of PhD thesis: The mass balance of selected glaciers of the Southern Alps in New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Sean Fitzsimons, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2010, Alice Bowden (MSc), Title of MSc thesis: Wind resource assessment in Waitati, Otago, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisor: Rachel Spronken-Smith).

2010, Ashley Broadbent (MSc), Title of MSc thesis: Measurements and modelling of wintertime PM10 air pollution, Milton, Otago (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2010, Amber Tate (MSc), Title of MSc thesis: Wintertime PM10 measurement and modelling in Alexandra and Mosgiel, Otago (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen, co-supervisor: Rachel Spronken-Smith).

2009, Andrea Barrueto (MSc), Title of MSc thesis: Accumulation on the Brewster Glacier in New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Martin Hoelzle, co-supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

2008, Sarah Gillett (MSc), Title of MSc thesis: Modelling summer ablation on the Brewster Glacier, New Zealand (Primary Supervisor: Nicolas Cullen).

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Publications

Jobst, A. M., Kingston, D. G., Cullen, N. J., & Schmid, J. (2018). Intercomparison of different uncertainty sources in hydrological climate change projections for an alpine catchment (upper Clutha River, New Zealand). Hydrology & Earth System Sciences, 22(6), 3125-3142. doi: 10.5194/hess-22-3125-2018

Wu, X., Davie-Martin, C. L., Steinlin, C., Hageman, K. J., Cullen, N. J., & Bodgal, C. (2017). Understanding and predicting the fate of semivolatile organic pesticides in a glacier-fed lake using a multimedia chemical fate model. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(20), 11752-11760. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03483

Hofer, M., Nemec, J., Cullen, N. J., & Weber, M. (2017). Evaluating predictor strategies for regression-based downscaling with a focus on glacierized mountain environments. Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology, 56(6), 1707-1729. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0215.1

Jobst, A. M., Kingston, D. G., Cullen, N. J., & Sirguey, P. (2017). Combining thin-plate spline interpolation with a lapse rate model to produce daily air temperature estimates in a data-sparse alpine catchment. International Journal of Climatology, 37(1), 214-229. doi: 10.1002/joc.4699

Cullen, N. J., Anderson, B., Sirguey, P., Stumm, D., Mackintosh, A., Conway, J. P., … Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrey, A. (2017). An 11-year record of mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, determined using a geostatistical approach. Journal of Glaciology, 63(238), 199-217. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.128

Chapter in Book - Research

Mölg, T., Hardy, D. R., Cullen, N. J., & Kaser, G. (2008). Tropical glaciers, climate change, and society: Focus on Kilimanjaro (East Africa). In B. Orlove, E. Wiegandt & B. H. Luckman (Eds.), Darkening peaks: Glacier retreat, science, and society. (pp. 168-182). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Jobst, A. M., Kingston, D. G., Cullen, N. J., & Schmid, J. (2018). Intercomparison of different uncertainty sources in hydrological climate change projections for an alpine catchment (upper Clutha River, New Zealand). Hydrology & Earth System Sciences, 22(6), 3125-3142. doi: 10.5194/hess-22-3125-2018

Wu, X., Davie-Martin, C. L., Steinlin, C., Hageman, K. J., Cullen, N. J., & Bodgal, C. (2017). Understanding and predicting the fate of semivolatile organic pesticides in a glacier-fed lake using a multimedia chemical fate model. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(20), 11752-11760. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03483

Cullen, N. J., Anderson, B., Sirguey, P., Stumm, D., Mackintosh, A., Conway, J. P., … Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrey, A. (2017). An 11-year record of mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, determined using a geostatistical approach. Journal of Glaciology, 63(238), 199-217. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.128

Jobst, A. M., Kingston, D. G., Cullen, N. J., & Sirguey, P. (2017). Combining thin-plate spline interpolation with a lapse rate model to produce daily air temperature estimates in a data-sparse alpine catchment. International Journal of Climatology, 37(1), 214-229. doi: 10.1002/joc.4699

Hofer, M., Nemec, J., Cullen, N. J., & Weber, M. (2017). Evaluating predictor strategies for regression-based downscaling with a focus on glacierized mountain environments. Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology, 56(6), 1707-1729. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0215.1

Schlögl, S., Lehning, M., Nishimura, K., Huwald, H., Cullen, N. J., & Mott, R. (2017). How do stability corrections perform in the stable boundary layer over snow? Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 165(1), 161-180. doi: 10.1007/s10546-017-0262-1

Bohleber, P., Sold, L., Hardy, D. R., Schwikowski, M., Klenk, P., Fischer, A., Sirguey, P., Cullen, N. J., … Mayewski, P. (2017). Ground-penetrating radar reveals ice thickness and undisturbed englacial layers at Kilimanjaro's Northern Ice Field. Cryosphere, 11, 469-482. doi: 10.5194/tc-11-469-2017

Conway, J. P., & Cullen, N. J. (2016). Cloud effects on surface energy and mass balance in the ablation area of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand. Cryosphere, 10(1), 313-328. doi: 10.5194/tc-10-313-2016

Sirguey, P., Still, H., Cullen, N. J., Dumont, M., Arnaud, Y., & Conway, J. P. (2016). Reconstructing the mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, using MODIS-derived glacier-wide albedo. Cryosphere, 10, 2465-2484. doi: 10.5194/tc-2016-98

Oliphant, A. J., Hindmarsh, R. C. A., Cullen, N. J., & Lawson, W. (2015). Microclimate and mass fluxes of debris-laden ice surfaces in Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 27(1), 85-100. doi: 10.1017/S0954102014000534

Gibson, P. B., & Cullen, N. J. (2015). Synoptic and sub-synoptic circulation effects on wind resource variability: A case study from a coastal terrain setting in New Zealand. Renewable Energy, 78, 253-263. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2015.01.004

Conway, J. P., Cullen, N. J., Spronken-Smith, R. A., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2015). All-sky radiation over a glacier surface in the Southern Alps of New Zealand: Characterizing cloud effects on incoming shortwave, longwave and net radiation. International Journal of Climatology, 35(5), 699-713. doi: 10.1002/joc.4014

Gibson, P. B., & Cullen, N. J. (2015). Regional variability in New Zealand's wind resource linked to synoptic-scale circulation: Implications for generation reliability. Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology, 54(5), 944-958. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-14-0273.1

Cullen, N. J., & Conway, J. P. (2015). A 22 month record of surface meteorology and energy balance from the ablation zone of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand. Journal of Glaciology, 61(229), 931-946. doi: 10.3189/2015JoG15J004

Sirguey, P., & Cullen, N. J. (2014). A very high resolution DEM of Kilimanjaro via photogrammetry of Geoeye-1 images (Kilisosdem2012). New Zealand Surveyor, 303, 19-25.

Pfeffer, W. T., Arendt, A. A., Bliss, A., Bolch, T., Cogley, J. G., Gardner, A. S., … The Randolph Consortium, including Cullen, N. J., & Sirguey, P. (2014). The Randolph Glacier Inventory: A globally complete inventory of glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, 60(221), 537-552. doi: 10.3189/2014joG13J176

Cullen, N. J., Mölg, T., Conway, J., & Steffen, K. (2014). Assessing the role of sublimation in the dry snow zone of the Greenland ice sheet in a warming world. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119(11), 6563-6577. doi: 10.1002/2014JD021557

Conway, J. P., & Cullen, N. J. (2013). Constraining turbulent heat flux parameterization over a temperate maritime glacier in New Zealand. Annals of Glaciology, 54(63), 41-51. doi: 10.3189/2013AoG63A604

Cullen, N. J., Sirguey, P., Mölg, T., Kaser, G., Winkler, M., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2013). A century of ice retreat on Kilimanjaro: The mapping reloaded. Cryosphere, 7(2), 419-431. doi: 10.5194/tc-7-419-2013

Cullen, N. J., Conway, J., Zawar-Reza, P., & Spronken-Smith, R. A. (2012). Further assessment of the atmospheric controls on night-time air pollution dispersion in Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand from idealized modelling experiments. Air Quality & Climate Change, 46(1), 29-36.

Cullen, N., Bowden, A., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2012). Partnering between a geography department and a community initiative to provide a wind resource assessment for the Blueskin Bay region, Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Geographer, 68(1), 49-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7939.2012.01220.x

Clark, M., Hendrikx, J., Slater, A. G., Kavetski, D., Anderson, B., Cullen, N. J., … Woods, R. A. (2011). Representing spatial variability of snow water equivalent in hydrologic and land-surface models: A review. Water Resources Research, 47, W07539. doi: 10.1029/2011wr010745

Gillett, S., & Cullen, N. J. (2011). Atmospheric controls on summer ablation over Brewster Glacier, New Zealand. International Journal of Climatology, 31, 2033-2048. doi: 10.1002/joc.2216

Tate, A., Cullen, N. J., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2011). Wintertime PM10 measurements and modelling in Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand: Understanding the bi-modal peak in evening air pollution. Air Quality & Climate Change, 45(3), 19-25.

Kaser, G., Mölg, T., Cullen, N. J., Hardy, D. R., & Winkler, M. (2010). Is the decline of ice on Kilimanjaro unprecedented in the Holocene? Holocene, 20(7), 1079-1091. doi: 10.1177/0959683610369498

Broadbent, A., Cullen, N. J., & Zawar-Reza, P. (2010). Wintertime numerical modelling of PM10 air pollution in Milton, Otago, New Zealand: Boundary layer structure, effects of data assimilation, and reaching national environmental standards. Air Quality & Climate Change, 44(4), 22-28.

Winkler, M., Kaser, G., Cullen, N. J., Mölg, T., Hardy, D. R., & Pfeffer, W. T. (2010). Land-based marginal ice cliffs: Focus on Kilimanjaro. Erdkunde, 64(2), 179-193. doi: 10.3112/erdkunde.2010.02.05

Mölg, T., Cullen, N. J., Hardy, D. R., Winkler, M., & Kaser, G. (2009). Quantifying climate change in the tropical midtroposphere over East Africa from glacier shrinkage on Kilimanjaro. Journal of Climate, 22(15), 4162-4181. doi: 10.1175/2009jcli2954.1

Mölg, T., Chiang, J. C. H., Gohm, A., & Cullen, N. J. (2009). Temporal precipitation variability versus altitude on a tropical high mountain: Observations and mesoscale atmospheric modelling. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 135(643), 1439-1455. doi: 10.1002/qj.461

Mölg, T., Cullen, N. J., & Kaser, G. (2009). Solar radiation, cloudiness and longwave radiation over low-latitude glaciers: Implications for mass-balance modelling. Journal of Glaciology, 55(190), 292-302. doi: 10.3189/002214309788608822

Mölg, T., Cullen, N. J., Hardy, D. R., Kaser, G., & Klok, L. (2008). Mass balance of a slope glacier on Kilimanjaro and its sensitivity to climate. International Journal of Climatology, 28(7), 881-892.

Cullen, N. J., Steffen, K., & Blanken, P. D. (2007). Nonstationarity of turbulent heat fluxes at Summit, Greenland. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 122, 439-455. doi: 10.1007/s10546-006-9112-2

Cullen, N. J., Mölg, T., Kaser, G., Steffen, K., & Hardy, D. R. (2007). Energy-balance model validation on the top of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, using eddy covariance data. Annals of Glaciology, 46, 227-233. doi: 10.3189/172756407782871224

Cullen, N. J., Mölg, T., Kaser, G., Hussein, K., Steffen, K., & Hardy, D. R. (2006). Kilimanjaro glaciers: Recent areal extent from satellite data and new interpretation of observed 20th century retreat rates. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L16502. doi: 10.1029/2006GL027084

Mölg, T., Renold, M., Vuille, M., Cullen, N. J., Stocker, T. F., & Kaser, G. (2006). Indian Ocean zonal mode activity in a multicentury integration of a coupled AOGCM consistent with climate proxy data. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L18710. doi: 10.1029/2006GL026384

Cullen, N. J., & Spronken-Smith, R. (2002). Synoptic controls on surface energetics in the Port Hills, Canterbury, New Zealand. Weather & Climate, 22, 3-18.

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Journal - Research Other

Mölg, T., Kaser, G., & Cullen, N. J. (2010). Glacier loss on Kilimanjaro is an exceptional case [Letter]. PNAS, 107(17), E68. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913780107

Mölg, T., Rott, H., Kaser, G., Fischer, A., & Cullen, N. J. (2006). Comment on ″Recent glacial recession in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperature″ by Richard G. Taylor, Lucinda Mileham, Callist Tindimugaya, Abushen Majugu, Andrew Muwanga, and Bob Nakileza. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L20404. doi: 10.1029/2006GL027254

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Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Sirguey, P., & Cullen, N. J. (2013). Surveying from outer space: KILISoSDEM2012: A very high resolution DEM of Kilimanjaro. Survey Quarterly, 76, 5-7.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Sirguey, P., & Cullen, N. J. (2014). A century of photogrammetry on Kilimanjaro. Proceedings of the XXV FIG Congress. International Federation of Surveyors. Retrieved from http://www.fig.net/resources/proceedings/

Sirguey, P., Cullen, N. J., & Dos Santos, J. F. (2014). The new digital orthometric elevation model of Kilimanjaro. In S. Winter & C. Rizos (Eds.), Proceedings of the Research at Locate (R@Loc) in conjunction with the Locate Conference. (pp. 108-117). [Full Paper]

Wood, R., Sirguey, P., & Cullen, N. J. (2013). Modelling ice retreat on Kilimanjaro using GIS. In P. Denys, M. Strack, A. B. Moore & P. Whigham (Eds.), Proceedings of the 125th New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (NZIS) Annual Conference and the Spatial Information Research Centre New Zealand (SIRC NZ) GIS and Remote Sensing Research Conference: Celebrating the Past: Redefining the Future. (pp. 117-120). Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Redpath, T., Sirguey, P., Cullen, N. J., & Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Are we there yet? Progress towards mapping seasonal snowpack from RPAS photogrammetry. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. 75A2370. Retrieved from https://www.igsoc.org/symposia/2017/newzealand/proceedings

Cullen, N. J., Gibson, P. B., Conway, J. P., Mölg, T., & Sirguey, P. (2017). The influence of weather systems in controlling mass balance in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. 75A2215. Retrieved from https://www.igsoc.org/symposia/2017/newzealand/proceedings

Redpath, T., Sirguey, P., Cullen, N., & Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Mapping seasonal snowpack with drone photogrammetry. Proceedings of the University of Otago Student Research Symposium: Te Wānaka Rakahau: Ākoka. (pp. 76). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/graduate-research/scholarships/otago643219.html

Redpath, T., Sirguey, P., Cullen, N., Boeuf, J., & Fitzsimons, S. (2016). Progress towards mapping seasonal snowpack from very high resolution drone photogrammetry [Extended abstract]. Proceedings of the 8th National Cartographic Conference (GeoCart). Retrieved from http://geocart.cartography.org.nz/2016/

Jobst, A. M., Kingston, D. G., & Cullen, N. J. (2015). Development of a model chain for climate change impact assessment in the Clutha catchment. In C. Ergler & S. Connelly (Eds.), Proceedings of the Postgraduate Symposium. (pp. 43). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Geography, University of Otago. [Abstract]

Bell, J., & Cullen, N. (2015). Behaviour and decision making of recreational users of avalanche terrain, Craigieburn Valley Ski Field, New Zealand. In C. Ergler & S. Connelly (Eds.), Proceedings of the Postgraduate Symposium. (pp. 29). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Geography, University of Otago. [Abstract]

Varley, O., & Cullen, N. (2015). Air quality in New Zealand. In C. Ergler & S. Connelly (Eds.), Proceedings of the Postgraduate Symposium. (pp. 23). Dunedin, New Zealand: Department of Geography, University of Otago. [Abstract]

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