REP Project

May 18, 2023

Mapping surface meltwater features on the Greenland Ice Sheet during an extreme melt year


Location: Lancaster Environment Centre

Duration: 6-10

A funded summer research opportunity focused on the hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) at Lancaster University is available to undergraduate students. Meltwater production on the GrIS has been unprecedented over recent decades, contributing to substantial mass reduction. Meltwater has migrated to ever higher elevations since 2000 and this trend is expected to continue as the climate warms further. This highlights the need for high-resolution datasets that provide a comprehensive view of supraglacial hydrological networks on the GrIS. This project aims to improve our understanding of surface hydrology in southwest Greenland throughout high melt years. Time permitting, the project may be extended to northeast Greenland, where the project could develop into a comparison study.

Specific objectives are:

  • Develop an understanding of GrIS surface hydrology and the role it plays on mass loss through a literature review.
  • Map meltwater features (lakes, rivers, and slush) from optical remote sensing imagery to create a snapshot of surface hydrology for each month of the 2019 melt-season. The spatial distribution and characteristics (e.g area, depth, and volume) of meltwater features will then be determined.
  • Undertake analysis of data. For example, determining where/when certain meltwater features form and how this may influence surface mass balance and ice dynamics.

The student will learn about the climate change in the context of the GrIS and its role in sea level rise. Support will be provided to the student to develop programming (e.g. Python) and GIS (e.g. ArcPro) skills. The student will be integrated into the Glaciology Group within the Lancaster Environment Centre, where they will work alongside PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty staff. The work produced from this project will directly contribute to a study that will be submitted for publication. The student will also have the opportunity to attend the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) annual meeting and present their work.


To apply

We encourage applications from students from all backgrounds. Please check you meet the eligibility criteria before completing the EDI Form 2023 ; this form is a mandatory part of the application process, but contains ‘prefer not to say’ options for all questions asked.

Once you have completed the online data collection form you will receive an email with the application form and details of how to apply to the supervisor. The application form should be completed and emailed to the lead supervisor along with a reference from your personal tutor.