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ONE Planet DTP - Reducing uncertainty in the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) modelling cascade (Ref: OP202038)

  • 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 size and number of moraine-dammed supraglacial and proglacial lake systems have increased rapidly in recent decades in response to climatic change. Given a trigger, moraine dams can be breached, generated a catastrophic glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF). GLOF frequency is anticipated to increase in coming decades and into the next century. Numerical hydrodynamic models are commonly used to simulate GLOFs, however, significant sources of uncertainty exist in the GLOF modelling workflow, many of which remain unexplored.

The goals of this project are to:
1. Use existing glacial lake inventories to identify a range of study site catchments from different mountainous regions and undertake detailed hazard assessment to characterise the nature of the hazard and, importantly, key sources of uncertainty.
2. Use a Monte Carlo simulation approach to explore uncertainty in the parameter space of a state-of-the-art numerical mass flow model and quantify the impact that, for example, triggering event location and magnitude (such as an ice or rock avalanche entering a lake), has on GLOF characteristics.
3. Quantify how this uncertainty propagates with downstream GLOF passage, and assess implications for both the risk to life, infrastructure, and property.
4. Explore long-term (annual, decadal), post-GLOF in-channel and floodplain response to modelled events.

It is anticipated that there will be project fieldwork in high-mountain environments. Fieldwork will focus on ground-truthing landscape elements that contribute to uncertainty.

Prerequisites:
Applicants must have a strong background in physical geography, Earth sciences, environmental sciences or a related discipline. Applicants should have a keen interest in high-mountain environments, glacial hazards, numerical flood modelling, and geospatial analysis using remote sensing and GIS. Existing programming skills (e.g. Python or an associated language), or a willingness to learn, are highly desirable. Experience of undertaking research in remote high-mountain environments is desirable but not essential.
For more info, please contact Dr Matt Westoby ().

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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