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ONEPlanet DTP - Nonlinear wave description of transient jökulhlaup flows (OP2128)


Faculty of Engineering and Environment

Monday, January 18, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Glacial outburst floods (jökulhlaups) are a major hazard in many actively glaciated regions. They can be generated by a wide range of mechanisms such as ice-dammed (ice-marginal, sub- and supraglacial) lake drainage, glacier surges and subglacial volcanic activity. Relatively little is known about jökulhlaup flow within sub and englacial systems. The 1996 jökulhlaup at Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland (picture above) was a catalyst for greater understanding of transient sub and englacial hydraulics. The project aims to provide a better mathematical description of flows through rapidly changing jökulhlaup drainage networks. Better understanding of jökulhlaup dynamics is an essential pre-requisite for hazard management within glaciated regions subject to rapid and ongoing climate change.
Dynamics of the drainage system will be investigated within the highly topical and inter-disciplinary framework of dispersive hydrodynamics, dedicated to fluid-like dynamics of nonlinear waves with applications ranging from the atmosphere to quantum fluids. Dispersive hydrodynamics has proven efficient in the description of extreme events in geophysical applications, such as tsunami waves and rogue waves in the ocean. The project will utilise field knowledge of sub and englacial jökulhlaup pathways and flow rheology to constrain mathematical models. The student will learn nonlinear analytical techniques for partial differential equations such as the wave modulation theory as well as advanced numerical methods for dispersive hydrodynamics. They will also have the opportunity to test mathematical predictions using primary and secondary datasets of Icelandic jökulhlaup systems with Andy Russell (Newcastle University).

Funding Notes

Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£15,285) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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