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ONEPlanet DTP - Revealing the role of eddies and buoyancy fluxes in projected regime shifts in the ocean circulation under Antarctica’s ice shelves (OP2152)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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

About the Project

Global sea-level rise is one of the most severe impacts of climate change which threatens large coastal cities and related ecosystems. Sea-level rise is caused by several sources, including melting of glaciers and ice sheets. Around the Antarctic ice sheet’s edges, there are thinner areas of ice that float on the ocean, called ‘ice shelves’. These ice shelves are melted underneath by the ocean, and slow the melting of the ice sheet into the ocean. Climate models used for melt-rate projections are currently limited in that they cannot simulate critically important fine scale ocean processes such as mesoscale eddies. Eddies have been shown to be important for realistic heat fluxes across the Antarctic margins and physically appropriate ocean circulation responses to changes in wind forcing. This project will improve our understanding of how these small scale features regulate the heat crossing the Antarctic shelf and into the ice-shelf cavities. This project will develop and evaluate the first eddy-resolving (1/36° NEMO as indicated by blue lines in figure) ocean simulation of the Filchner Ice Shelf System with realistic shelf geometry, thermodynamically-interactive ice shelves, and tidal forcing. As necessary, simplified, idealised models will enable a process based understanding of the same system, with the ultimate goal of improving climate model representations of fine scale processes. This project has a potential partnership with the British Antarctic Survey and/or coupling to the Úa ice-sheet model, dependent on the student’s interest. The student will join a growing, vibrant modelling group at Northumbria University who are interested in improving our physical understanding of the ocean, ice-shelf and ice-sheet climate system. The student will gain real-world experience in solving geophysical equations using complex numerical codes on modern compute clusters. Quantative, industry-sought big data skills will be developed and fascinating geophysical phenomena studied.

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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