Alexandra's glaciology research has focused on understanding properties of Greenland's snow, the historical stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and, currently, the amount of melt from the largely enigmatic debris-covered glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas.
The steep sides of Himalayan mountains deposit substantial rock covers on the glaciers in their valleys. While these debris-covered glaciers are generally shrinking in response to a warming climate, the mechanisms, patterns, and timescales of their melt differ from those of their better-understood clean counterparts.
Overlying debris affects the way these glaciers melt: they tend to thin rather than shrink and retreat. Using field measurements and satellite images to assess the various energy fluxes at the ice surface, Alexandra works on determining the amount and mechanisms of melt from debris-covered glaciers in the Khumbu (Everest) region of the Himalayas. Alexandra was drawn to work in High Mountain Asia, which contain more ice than anywhere outside Greenland and Antarctica and also supports 20% of the world's population, because of the unique intersection of glaciology with societal issues.
YouTube: Ali Giese talks about the effects of climate change on sea ice
YouTube: Ali Giese is featured in the viral video "Science in Greenland: It's a Girl Thing."