The Antarctic ice sheet contains a significant potential contribution to future global sea level rise. Satellite-observations of ice sheet change, numerical modelling and geological evidence demonstrates that several parts of the ice sheet could undergo unstable collapse, unlocking this sea level potential. Because the satellite record is short, and geological evidence can be spatially and temporally limited, this project will turn to the internal record within the ice sheet. Using ice penetrating radar-derived englacial structure and stratigraphy (i.e. ice sheet ‘architecture’), this PhD will reconstruct the form and flow history of the ice sheet, determining how the present-day internal architecture evolved, and assessing the implications for recent and future ice sheet change.
The project will interrogate airborne ice-penetrating radar data acquired by the British Antarctic Survey (a project partner), and international colleagues and collaborators (e.g. NASA’s Operation IceBridge) to investigate the internal architecture of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). The study will focus on the Weddell Sea Sector of EAIS, the subject of multiple recent ice-penetrating radar surveys (e.g. PolarGap, ICEGRAV). The project will map and date the ice sheet internal stratigraphy, assess which processes formed and deformed the stratigraphy, and reconstruct the ice sheet history (e.g. mass balance, ice flow, etc.) within the study area. Findings from this research will be used to constrain ice sheet models used to predict future ice sheet behaviour and sea level contribution. The project will be integrated with, and inform, the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) action group AntArchitecture https://www.scar.org/science/antarchitecture/home/. There is significant potential for the PhD student to engage directly with this international programme, including involvement in international workshops and visits to international partner institutions.
This project is part of the ONE Planet DTP. Find out more here: View Website