October 10, 2017

Ice-ocean interaction: effects of climate change on Antarctic ice-shelf dynamics

Ice-ocean interaction: effects of climate change on Antarctic ice-shelf dynamics

In summer 2017 the Larsen C ice-shelf in Antarctica calved a 6000 km2 iceberg, and the Halley research station closed over winter 2017 due to nearby crevasses opening up, potentially calving another massive iceberg. When these large volumes of ice drift equatorwards they eventually melt and can influence key pathways in the Earth System, including changing ocean heat transports and ocean circulation patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles. What is poorly constrained is how these changes in the ocean feed back to the ice. Understanding this interplay is currently a very active and exciting area of research, and the student will join a strong team of scientists at Bangor University and the British Antarctic Survey to investigate how future climate change in the Southern Ocean will affect the Antarctic ice shelfs. This will be done by analysing existing data from the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf and the Southern Ocean and using it in a novel coupled iceocean model. The work will lead to the first estimates of oceanic tipping points for an iceshelf collapse are, and let us investigate how the flexing of the ice influence the ice sheet farther upstream. The project is a collaboration between Bangor University and the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, and it will engage with ongoing research projects at both institutions. The student will spend time at BAS, engage with a wide research community, contribute to research outputs, and have the opportunity to join fieldwork at both institutes. The project offers unparalleled opportunities for research training and exposure to coupled ice-ocean research.

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a numerical subject such as Physical Oceanography, Glaciology, Maths, or Physics. Students with degrees in other environmental subjects, along with an MSc in oceanography, applied physics, or applied maths are also welcome to apply.

For further information and informal enquiries, please contact Dr Mattias Green (