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August 17, 2022

Assessing the Contribution of Antarctic Peninsula Glaciers to Global Sea Level Rise

Melting of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets contributes more than one third of global sea-level rise. One of the most rapidly changing polar regions is the Antarctic Peninsula which, during the second half of the 20th Century, was one of the fastest warming regions on Earth. Temperature increases across this region have led to rapid glaciological change, including ice shelf collapse, accelerated ice melting and discharge into the Southern Ocean, and a tripling of the region’s contribution to sea-level in recent decades.

Satellites provide a unique tool for monitoring the impact of climate change. However, making reliable measurements in remote polar regions such as the Antarctic Peninsula is highly challenging, due to the complex terrain and multitude of small, highly dynamic glaciers. Recent advances in satellite technology now offer the potential to develop new, robust estimates of glacier change across this region. This project aims to utilize new streams of satellite data and innovative A.I. and metrological techniques, to monitor glacier evolution across the Antarctic Peninsula and assess its contribution to sea-level rise. Specific aims are to (1) develop new estimates of glacier change using measurements from NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite and high-resolution radar altimeters, and (2) determine regional mass loss, including rigorous treatment of uncertainty.

This project is a CASE studentship, meaning that the student will benefit from additional supervision by experts at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, relating to metrology and uncertainty analysis. You will also become a member of the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling and the Lancaster University-UKCEH Centre of Excellence in Environmental Data Science, with extensive opportunities to collaborate with glaciologists, climate scientists, and data scientists.