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The temperature distribution within the East Antarctic icesheet

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Roberts
    Dr Halpin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The dynamics for ice flow is strongly influenced by the internal temperature distribution within the icesheet, with warmer, and therefore more deformable, ice leading to increased ice velocities, discharge of ice into the ocean and ultimately changes in sea-level. Additionally, melting at the base of the icesheet produces liquid water which may lubricate the ice/bedrock interface and further enhance local ice velocities.

The distribution of geothermal heat flux is a primary control on the temperature distribution within the icesheet (and the presence of liquid water at the base of the icesheet) but is poorly known for much of East Antarctica due to the sparsity of rock outcrops and associated geological measurements. What measurements that do exist suggest the geothermal heat flux is spatially highly variable (Carson et al 2014).

Information on the englacial temperature distribution can be estimated from the attenuation with depth of ice penetrating radar signals (MacGregor et al 2015). This project will estimate the englacial temperature distribution within the East Antarctic ice sheet using existing of ice penetrating radar data, combined with seismic data and borehole temperature measurements from existing deep ice-coring sites. The estimated englacial temperature distributions will then be used in an inverse mode icesheet model to estimate the spatial distribution of geothermal heat flux and compared to independent estimates of geothermal heat flux from airborne geophysical surveys.

The successful applicant for this project will need strong numerical skills, with a background in physical sciences and large scale fluid dynamics modelling.

The supervision team on this project will also include Dr Leo Peters (IMAS, UTAS)

This project is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiative for Antarctic Gateway Partnership. For information about the Antarctic Gateway Partnership visit the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) web page.

Funding Notes

The ARC Antarctic Gateway Partnership is seeking applications from suitably qualified graduates for living allowance Scholarships to undertake PhD projects.

The UTAS Graduate Research Office provides detailed information about scholarships including eligibility, award conditions and application processes.

To be considered for an ARC Antarctic Gateway Partnership living allowance Scholarship it is necessary to specify this on the Admissions and Scholarship Application Part 9.1.

Tuition fees apply to all international candidates. Limited numbers of UTAS tuition fee scholarships are also available on a competitive basis to candidates undertaking projects closely aligned with the ARC Antarctic Gateway Partnership's research objectives.

References

Carson et al (2014), Hot rocks in a cold place: high sub-glacial heat flow in East Antarctica, Journal of the Geological Society, 171, 9-12

MagGregor et al (2015), Radar attenuation and temperature within the Greenland Ice sheet, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1002/2014JF003418

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