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Temporal oscillations of ice streams and implications for ice sheet deglaciation (Advert Reference: RDF22/EE/GES/HASELOFF)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Marianne Haseloff  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

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 (moving at speeds of hundreds of meters per year), which channelize the ice flow from the interior of the ice sheet to its edges. Observations show that ice streams can accelerate and decelerate, widen, narrow, and meander on timescales of hundreds of years or less, thereby significantly affecting the rate of mass loss from the ice sheet.  

Models explaining these changes in flow on the basis of thermal or hydrological feedbacks have recently been developed, but the interplay between these different processes and external climate forcing is still poorly understood. However, these interactions are likely crucial for explaining the dynamic history of the West Antarctic ice sheet and for predicting its future contribution to sea level rise.

The goal of this project is to adapt a numerical ice sheet model to investigate the interplay between these dynamics and their role in ice sheet deglaciation. Simplified mathematical models will be developed to aid in the interpretation of the 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 differential equations describing these models with a variety of numerical and analytical methods.

An undergraduate degree in geophysics, physics, mathematics, computer science or a related field is desirable, as is knowledge and/or interest in fluid dynamics and numerical solution of partial differential equations.

The Principal Supervisor for this project is Dr Marianne Haseloff.

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 or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

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. RDF22/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.
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