The West Antarctic ice sheet contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by several metres and is considered particularly vulnerable to changing climatic conditions. Most of its ice is discharged through a few fast-flowing ice streams, which channelize the ice flow from the interior of the ice sheet to its edges. Existing models show that the volume and discharge of an ice stream with fixed width can change due to internal feedbacks between ice thickness, basal energy balance and slip at the ice sheet bed. However, ice streams can be part of complex ice flow patterns encompassing several adjacent ice streams. Observations show that they can widen, narrow, and meander within the ice sheet, thereby affecting the flow of neighboring ice streams. Models explaining these changes in flow on the basis of thermal and/or hydrologically feedbacks have recently been developed, but the interplay between internal ice stream dynamics, interactions between ice streams, and ice stream discharge is poorly understood. However, these interactions are likely crucial for explaining the dynamic history of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and might explain the short, periodic episodes of rapid deglaciation of the Laurentide ice sheet known as Heinrich events.
The goal of this project is to adapt a numerical ice sheet model to investigate these dynamics and their role in ice sheet deglaciation. Simplified mathematical models will be developed to aid in the interpretation of these results and to build a conceptual understanding of leading order processes.
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 interest in fluid dynamics and numerical solution of partial differential equations.
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.