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ONE Planet DTP - Modelling ice shelf collapse in Antarctica (Ref: OP20257)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is one of the largest contributors to global sea level change and its contribution may increase sharply in the near future. It is therefore of considerable importance to quantify ongoing changes, to understand how these changes are driven by external factors, and to improve predictions of the future impacts on sea level.
The catastrophic collapse of several ice shelves in Antarctica between 1995 and 2002 has been a pivotal moment in the ice sheet’s contemporary history. Most recently, the Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegrated over the course of a few weeks in 2002, turning 3500 km2 of previously ice-covered waters into open ocean. This event highlighted the potential for sudden and rapid change, and the subsequent speed-up of the tributary glaciers demonstrated the importance of ice shelves for the stability of the entire ice sheet. To date, however, only limited numerical modelling work has been conducted on the impact of collapsing ice shelves on glacier dynamics, and it still remains to be demonstrated that numerical ice-sheet models can correctly describe the ensuing changes to continental glacier flow.
In this project, you will work with a world-leading team of glaciologists at Northumbria University to advance our understanding of these important processes, and to test and improve the predictive skill of ice flow models. Training will be offered in glaciology and numerical modelling, and there will be an opportunity to attend summer schools in Svalbard and the Alps to gain further skills in glaciology and fieldwork. You will work with state-of-the-art ice-flow models using high performance computing facilities, and you will have access to unique records of in-situ and remote sensing data from the Larsen B area and the wider Antarctic Peninsula. You will be encouraged to participate in UK and international conferences to discuss with colleagues and to promote your research.

Your results will inform future model developments, with the overall aim to provide improved projections of Antarctic mass loss over the next decades to centuries.

If you have strong numerical skills and a good background in physics, environmental sciences and programming, this project is well suited for you. An undergraduate or MSc degree in physics, mathematics or environmental sciences is essential. For more information, please contact Jan De Rydt ().

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.

Funding Notes

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).

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