PHD Project

October 11, 2023

Measuring Meltwater Fluxes into the Arctic Ocean


This project offers the exciting opportunity to assess pan-Arctic meltwater fluxes from the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps, using novel satellite datasets and advanced processing techniques.

The Arctic is one of the most rapidly changing environments on the planet. Surface melting across pan-Arctic glaciers contributes freshwater fluxes into the Arctic Ocean that have the potential to impact sea level rise and ocean circulation. As Earth’s climate warms, this meltwater contribution will increase further, with the potential for large scale social and economic disruption.

Satellites provide a unique tool for monitoring the impact of climate change. However, making reliable measurements in remote polar regions such as the Arctic ice caps 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 processing techniques, to monitor glacier melt across the Arctic and assess meltwater flux into the ocean. Specific aims are to (1) develop new estimates of glacier melt using novel datasets from satellite radar and laser altimeters, and (2) determine the first pan-Arctic estimates of meltwater run-off into the Arctic Ocean.

The successful candidate will join 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, and to interact with international agencies such as ESA. The student will also have the opportunity to undertake an international placement at the project partner in Copenhagen.


This project is particularly well-suited to applicants with quantitative skills and a background in mathematics, computer science, physics, data science, engineering, environmental science or geography, who would like to use numeric techniques to study environmental science and climate change. Applications should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent.

Email address for enquiries.

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Mal McMillan