Understanding how Antarctic Ice Sheets control the climate of Antarctica (Advert Reference: RDF19/EE/GES/ROBERTS)
This project will unravel how the size and shape of Antarctica influences its climate.
One of the key predictions of climate models is “polar amplification”: the idea that when the planet’s temperature changes, the polar regions’ temperature changes more. Understanding this effect tells us much about the many feedbacks within the climate system. The Last Glacial Maximum has been used as a test case for understanding this because there are a large number of climate proxy records of the period and a large number of climate model simulations have been made it. The modelling results show that in Antarctica exactly how much and where the temperature changed depends upon the shape of the ice sheets. New analysis techniques are allowing us to understand better what the temperature over Antarctica was: it’s now time to use climate models to understand what these temperature changes tell us about the climate system.
Using different reconstructions of Antarctic ice sheets and a hierarchy of climate models you will begin to investigate how the ice sheets of the Last Glacial Maximum can affect the climate. Comparing the results of these model simulations with new climate records you will gain an understanding of what shape of ice sheet can best fit the observations and why. With this understanding you can start to understand how the temperature over Antarctica evolved over the last twenty thousand years and potentially unravel what the shape of the ice sheet actually was.
Modelling will initially be conducted using the UK Met Office's Unified Model, with a possibility to use more complex climate or ice sheet models. A student with strong numerical skills and experience of analysing large, multi-dimensional, data sets using software such as python or MATLAB, would be ideally suited. Experience of using complex numerical models would be desirable though not essential. An undergraduate degree in the physical sciences or mathematics is essential.
The principal supervisor for this project is William Roberts.
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.
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. RDF19/EE/GES/ROBERTS) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019
Start Date: 1 October 2019
Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.
The studentship is available to Students Worldwide, and covers full fees and a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa).
Jones T.R., W.H.G Roberts, E.J. Steig, J.W. White, B.J. Markle and K. Cuffey (2018): Southern Hemisphere Climate Variability Forced by Northern Hemisphere Ice Sheet Topography. Nature (554), 351–355 doi:10.1038/nature24669