Valentina Radic

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Climate Changes and Impacts
Climate Science

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Data analysis
field work


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.



These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Mountain glaciers as modifiers of streamflow in Western Canada : insights from data analysis and machine learning (2023)

Despite the social, ecological, and cultural importance of glaciers and glacier-fed rivers, a quantification of key glacier controls of streamflow remain elusive and outstanding questions persist. For example: which communities’ water supplies are most vulnerable to the loss of glacier ice? By how much do glaciers modify the streamflow response to heatwaves? First, I use principal component analysis, self-organizing maps, and multivariate linear regression to provide an assessment of community vulnerability to deglaciation in Alberta, Canada, by identifying and predicting signals of glacier runoff in historical streamflow datasets. I combine these models with a new dataset of community water supply sources to find that the most vulnerable locations are the communities of Hinton, Lake Louise, and Rocky Mountain House, as well as the Bighorn Dam, which forms the largest reservoir in the province and provides water for over a million people downstream. Next, I develop an accurate and interpretable convolutional long short-term memory neural network regional hydrological model for streamflow prediction across Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. This deep machine learning model is forced by gridded ERA5 temperature and precipitation data and predicts streamflow at 226 stream gauge stations.Finally, I use this model to systematically investigate the streamflow response to heatwaves. I determine how this streamflow response varies by basin glacier coverage, as well as by heatwave timing, duration, and intensity, under both normal and warmer climate scenarios. I quantify how increasing glacier coverage is associated with both increasing streamflow generation during summer heatwaves, as well as increasing compensation in summer to the loss of snow during spring heatwaves. My results advance understanding on multiple research fronts in glaciology and hydrology: I demonstrate the importance of local-scale water resource data for glacier runoff projections; I emphasize the interpretability of deep machine learning models as a means to apply machine learning to new frontiers in hydrology; and I offer new frameworks and metrics to understand and characterize the hydrological impacts of heatwaves. My findings motivate future inter- and trans-disciplinary research to develop better deep learning hydrological models, and make progress towards answering politically and socially relevant glacio-hydrological research questions.

View record

An investigation of surface energy balance and turbulent heat flux on mountain glaciers (2019)

The exchange of energy between a glacier surface and its surroundings, known as its surface energy balance (SEB), is a primary control on surface ablation rates. In the modelling of glacier SEB, parameterisation rather than direct measurement is frequently used to estimate one or more of the contributing heat fluxes, with smaller fluxes often deemed negligible. The turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent heat are commonly parameterised using forms of the bulk aerodynamic method. These techniques were developed for flat, uniform surfaces, and substantial uncertainty remains in the validity of their application over sloped, inhomogeneous glacier terrain. A multi-year field campaign was performed on two glaciers in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, where season-long observations of the complete SEB were obtained at multiple locations. The obtained dataset was used to drive an ablation model which showed good agreement with observed rates at seasonal, daily, and sub-daily timescales, effectively closing the energy balance. Through eddy covariance measurements, the turbulent heat fluxes were observed to be important components of SEB at each location, providing 31% of seasonal melt energy, and up to 78% of melt energy on individual days, underlining the need for their accurate estimation. The rain heat flux, often assumed negligible, was a significant contributor to melt energy on daily and sub-daily timescales during heavy rainfall (up to 20% day⁻¹). An evaluation of common turbulent flux parameterisation methods found their performance to be highly sensitive to the choice of roughness length scheme and atmospheric stability function. Observed roughness length values differed from those commonly assumed for glacier surfaces, and varied substantially between locations, highlighting the need for site-specific values. Two techniques were developed for the remote estimation of roughness using digital elevation models, and performed well when compared with in situ observations. The occurrence of shallow, katabatic surface layers with low-level wind maximums was frequently observed over the sloped, glacial test sites. Existing stability parameters and functions used in turbulent flux parameterisation were found to be unreliable in these conditions, as was the commonly employed assumption of constant turbulent flux and friction velocity with height through this layer.

View record

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Evaluation of dynamically downscaled near-surface meteorological variables and energy fluxes at three mountain glaciers in British Columbia (2018)

All models of glacier melt, regardless of their complexity, must be forced by observed meteorologicalfields at or in the vicinity of the glacier in question. In the absence of these observations,the forcing is commonly derived from statistical or dynamical downscaling of low resolutionclimate reanalysis models. Here we focus on a dynamical downscaling via Weather Researchand Forecasting (WRF) model, which has previously showed promising results in simulating asurface energy balance (SEB) at several glacierized terrains. Our goal is to evaluate the WRFdownscaling approach at three mountain glaciers in the interior mountains of British Columbiawhere the automatic weather stations (AWSs) recorded data over several summer seasons. TheWRF model, nested within the ERA-Interim global reanalysis produced output fields at 7.5km and 2.5 km spatial resolution, as well as 1 km resolution for one of the sites. We analyzehow closely the WRF model output, at sub-daily and daily temporal resolution, resemblesthe observed meteorological fields and SEB fluxes needed to assess seasonal surface melt atthese glaciers. We find that the model at 2.5 km closely simulates the cumulative seasonalmelt (±10% difference) despite large biases in the individual components of the SEB model.Overestimation of the number of clear sky days explains the positive bias in the modeled netshortwave radiation. This positive bias, however, is compensated by a negative bias in the modelednet longwave radiation, and by an underestimation of sensible and latent heat fluxes. Theunderestimation in the latter two fluxes, calculated from the bulk aerodynamic method, is dueto underestimated near-surface wind speeds. Radiative fluxes, which are dominant drivers ofseasonal melting, are poorly downscaled with WRF, while successfully simulated by the ERAInterimat the course spatial resolution. Therefore, we advocate that SEB models be directlyforced with the output from global climate reanalysis. Finally, simulating turbulent heat fluxesat sloped glacier surfaces remains a major challenge, and the 1-km resolution state-of-the-artWRF model is not yet ready to tackle it.

View record

Current Students & Alumni

This is a small sample of students and/or alumni that have been supervised by this researcher. It is not meant as a comprehensive list.

If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Read tips on applying, reference letters, statement of interest, reaching out to prospective supervisors, interviews and more in our Application Guide!