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Estimating the risk of Antarctic ice shelf collapse using Bayesian nonparametric statistical modelling

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Barrand
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Ice shelves comprise floating extensions of the inland ice of the East, West and Antarctic Peninsula ice sheets. They provide crucial buttressing forces holding back the flow of the ice sheets towards the sea, thus regulating rates of global sea-level rise. In recent years, ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula have been observed to substantially retreat and even catastrophically collapse. These major global change episodes have been linked to a variety of causal mechanisms, yet no single clear explanation has emerged, making physically-based forecasts of future change problematic.

This project will provide expertise and training in satellite remote sensing, expert elicitation, Bayesian methods and risk assessment to address the problem of ice shelf collapse. New satellite data (microwave and optical imagery) will be analysed to assess ice shelf retreat and collapse since 2010, placing these new observations in the context of the last half decade of observational ice shelf history. An expert elicitation exercise will quantitatively assess expert opinion of ice shelf collapse risk in the next 100 years.

These datasets will then be combined with existing environmental, geophysical and glaciological ‘Big Data’-sets in a Bayesian nonparametric statistical model framework to calculate the probabilities of ice shelf collapse risk during the next 100 years. The candidate will gain expertise and experience in glaciology, satellite remote sensing analysis, expert elicitation, and Bayesian numerical methods. This combination of skills is unique and in high demand and is expected to result in a number of high-impact outputs. The collapse timing estimates generated by this project may then be used by ice sheet modellers to more accurately forecast the future contributions of the Antarctic ice sheets to global sea-level rise.

About you: Candidates will normally hold relevant masters and first class or equivalent honours degrees in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, or numerate Geoscience disciplines (Geophysics, Earth Science, Physical Geography). Students with strong numerical and/or programming skills are particularly encouraged to apply.

For further details: Please contact Dr Nicholas Barrand:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 3103
Supervisory panel: Dr Nicholas Barrand (Birmingham); Dr Sergio Bacallado (Cambridge); Industrial partners Marcus Engdahl. Technical Officer, European Space Agency (ESA)

Funding Notes

Fully funded DREAM (NERC) project

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 25.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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