Kaj Williams

Assistant Research Professor

Contact Information

Email: Kaj dot Williams (at) montana dot edu


Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, University of Colorado – Boulder

Research Interests

  My research centers mainly on the interaction between planetary surfaces and atmospheres, where I typically use mathematical modeling along with principles of fluid dynamics, geology, physics, chemistry and meteorology.  In particular, I study the thermodynamic stability of ice, snow and other volatiles.  The ice and snow can either be directly exposed to the atmosphere, or the interaction can be mediated by other material (e.g. sublimation lags, permafrost active layers, etc.)  This area of study involves ice and snow microphysics as well as boundary-layer meteorology.  Thus far I have studied processes on Earth, Mars and Titan.

  Other research I’ve conducted includes cratering rates on Callisto and the micrometeorology of ice caves on Earth and Mars.

Courses Taught

Erth 491 - Modeling of Earth Surface Processes (Spring 2015)

Selected Publications

Williams, Kaj, Christopher P. McKay and J.L Heldmann. (2015) Modeling the effects of martian surface frost on ice table depth. Icarus, 261, 58-65.

Williams, Kaj and Chris McKay. (2015). Comparing flow-through and static ice cave models for Shoshone Ice Cave. International Journal of Speleology, 44: Article 1. 

Heldmann, J. L., W. Pollard, C. P. Mckay, M. M. Marinova, A. Davila, K. E. Williams, D. Lacelle, and D. T. Andersen (2013), The high elevation Dry Valleys in Antarctica as analog sites for subsurface ice on Mars, Planetary and Space Science, 85(C), 53–58, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.019.

J.L. Heldmann, M. Marinova, K.E. Williams, D. Lacelle, C.P. McKay, A. Davila, W. Pollard and D.T. Andersen (2012). Formation and evolution of buried snowpack deposits in Pearse Valley, Antarctica, and implications for Mars. Antarctic Science, 24, pp 299­316 doi:10.1017/S0954102011000903

Williams, K. E., McKay, C. P. and Persson, F. (2012) The surface energy balance at the Huygens Landing site and the moist surface conditions on Titan. Planetary and Space Science. Vol 60, nr. 1.

Williams, K. E., Pappalardo, R. T. (2011) Variability in the Small Crater Population of Callisto. Icarus 215,1.

Williams, K.E., McKay, C. P., Toon, O.B., Head, J. W. (2010) Do Ice Caves Exist on Mars? Icarus 209,2.

Williams, K.E., Toon, O. B., Heldmann, J. L., Mellon, M. (2009) Ancient melting of mid-latitude snowpacks on Mars as a water source for gullies, Icarus, 200.

Williams, K.E., Toon, O.B., Heldmann, J.L. , McKay C.P. and Mellon, M. (2008) Stability of Mid-Latitude Snowpacks on Mars, Icarus, 196.

Williams, K. E., O. B. Toon, and J. Heldmann (2007), Modeling water ice lifetimes at recent Martian gully locations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L09204, doi:10.1029/2007GL029507.

Lai, Y.C., Lerner, D, Williams, K and Crebogi, C. (Nov. 1999) Unstable dimension variability in coupled chaotic systems.Physical Review E 60 (5): 5445-5454 Part A.