Increased melting due to warming ocean waters has been linked to ice shelf thinning and break-up, and subsequent speed up and retreat of adjoining ice sheets. Observations show that melting at the sub-shelf base can lead to complex two-dimensional patterns. In particular, kilometre-wide subglacial melt channels can form at the base of an ice shelf. The side walls of some of these channels are terraced with step sizes on the scales of tens to hundreds of meters. Sub-shelf channels are regions of increased melting, and are likely more prone to fracturing and calving, as the ice is locally thinned and weakened in these locations. However, these effects are currently not included in ice sheet models, which are used to predict sea level rise on long time scales. Existing studies show that the formation of these channels is the result of positive feedbacks between ice shelf geometry, locally enhanced ocean velocities, and heat transfer, but the controls on channel morphology remain unclear. Using a combination of high-resolution numerical modelling and analytical methods, this project will investigate the conditions that lead to the formation of sub-shelf channels in order to identify the leading order controls on channel size and spacing. These results will be used to derive improved parameterizations of sub-shelf melting suitable for large scale ice sheet models.
The successful student will expand his/her knowledge in glaciology, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, and will learn to formulate mathematical models of physical processes. They will learn to solve the partial differential equations describing these models with a variety of numerical methods.
Prerequisites: An undergraduate degree in geophysics, physics, mathematics, computer science or a related field is desirable, as is knowledge or strong interest in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics.
For more information, please contact Marianne Haseloff ([email protected]
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. OP.....) will not be considered.
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).