About the Project
Compared with the cases of alluvial and bedrock channels, the study of meltwater channels on ice has received little attention, and experimental work reported has focused on small-scale meandering channels . Production, storage, and transport of meltwater over ice is one of the least-studied processes on Earth  and meltwater like channels have also been recognized on the South Pole of Titan (one of Saturn’s moons), where rivers of liquid methane carve their way through frozen landscapes . Understanding, the dynamics of meltwater channels is crucial to predict the rate of sea level rise in response to climate change and to understand environmental conditions on extra-terrestrial bodies. Meltwater channels over ice show many features also observed in alluvial and bedrock rivers, such as terraces/bars, overhangs, knickpoints (waterfalls), features analogous to scroll bars due to channel bend migration, and bend cut-offs. Meltwater channels also have certain features that are unique. For example, flows may increase downstream even in the absence of tributaries or overland flow due to thermal melting of the channel bed and walls and the role of direct solar radiation through the flowing water. This and other phenomena dependent on temperature gradients and flow characteristics (e.g. depth, velocity), among other variables, create channels with different planform morphologies. This project will focus on identifying the tipping points responsible for them. In spite of advances in numerical models and remote sensing capabilities [1, 5-6], new laboratory experiments are key to motivate and validate processes understanding of supraglacial meltwater channel hydrodynamics and morphodynamics.
Aims and Objectives:To characterize the formation and evolution of meltwater channels over ice and identify tipping points responsible for different planform morphologies. Research will focus on:
1) Developing novel experiments of surface meltwater channel formation as a function of different slopes, water-ice temperature gradients and flow velocities.
2) Conducting remote monitoring of polar and extra-terrestrial surface meltwater channels to quantify real-world planform geometries, using data from ESA Sentinel, Nasa Landsat and higher resolution satellite data.
3) Developing empirical and theoretical models of meltwater flux from channel planform geometry and slope, quantifying both water-ice temperature gradients and meltwater contribution to sea-level rise.
Impact:The PhD will develop new quasi-empirical models to accurately constrain surface meltwater contribution to sea level rise. Integration of the experimental work with satellite monitoring will enable the PhD to develop a new technique to detail maps of water-ice temperature gradients and ice sheet melting, remotely.
See the Panorama website (https://panorama-dtp.ac.uk/research/meltwater-channels-over-ice-tipping-points-for-planform-morphology-and-evolution/) for more information on the Project, the Supervisory Team, training and the working environment.
Student ProfileYou should have a strong background in one of the relevant degree courses (https://panorama-dtp.ac.uk/research/meltwater-channels-over-ice-tipping-points-for-planform-morphology-and-evolution/) (ie you should normally have, or expect to obtain, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or international equivalent (https://www.hull.ac.uk/choose-hull/study-at-hull/international/country-search.aspx))).
The application deadline is Tuesday 5th January 2021, and interviews will take place in late February.
Please see the Panorama website (View Website) for full information on funding and how to apply.
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