PHD PROJECTS

The impact of Antarctic sea ice on simulated Southern Ocean watermasses

Abstract

Do you know how important Antarctic sea ice is for the global climate?

Neither do we (nor anyone else for that matter). But we do know that sea ice plays a key role in the global ocean's uptake of 90% of the heat trapped on the planet by anthropogenic emissions, so this is an important question. We are looking for a motivated, creative individual with strong quantitative skills to tackle that question, as part of a world-class team oceanographers and sea ice experts.
The successful applicant will use data from the state-of-science climate models that are used to inform IPCC reports, to investigate how Antarctic sea ice affects the circulation of the Southern Ocean, how well those processes are represented in the models, and the global implications of those processes in a warming climate.

Over the course of the project, the student will communicate their research in top tier scientific journals, and at domestic and international conferences.

Supervisory Team

Will Hobbs
Jan Zika
Zanna Chase

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Frontal variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current

Abstract

This project will improve the characterization of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current fronts variability and change. The analysis is circumpolar with the observational and reanalysis datasets.

Supervisory Team

Annie Foppert
Benoit Legresy
Steve Rintoul

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Response of the Larsen C Ice Shelf system to changes in grounding line forcing from numerical modelling

Abstract

The speed of Antarctic glaciers can vary substantially on tidal time scales. Using a combination of GPS observations and numerical modelling, this project will use glacier velocities to draw conclusions around ice shelf dynamics, the interaction of ice and its bed and the sensitivity of glaciers to changes in forcing.

Supervisory Team

Sue Cook
Matt King
Chen Zhao

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Understanding the ice-ocean interaction in Wilkes Land, Antarctica

Abstract

In the past decade, the main mass loss in the East Antarctica was dominated by the Wilkes Land, which was attributable to the increases in ocean-induced basal melt. Using a coupled ice sheet ocean model, this project will explore the ice ocean interaction to better understand the significant role of warm water intrusion on the ice sheet instability in Wilkes Land and inform future field campaigns in this region.

Supervisory Team

Chen Zhao
Ben Galton-Fenzi
Terence O'Kane

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Drivers of changes in air-sea CO2 exchange and carbon cycling in the Subantarctic and coastal East Antarctica – a contribution to the Southern Ocean Observing System

Abstract

The project will use a combination of observations from ships, moorings, and floats to investigate drivers of changes in air-sea CO2 exchange and carbon cycling in the Subantarctic Zone and the Australian Antarctic Sector. Outcomes from this project will contribute to national (AAPP) and international (SOOS) programs.

Supervisory Team

Cathryn Wynn-Edwards
Elizabeth Shadwick
Pete Strutton

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Accurate simulation of Antarctic landfast sea ice and its impacts

Abstract

The seasonal cycle of Antarctic sea ice, ranging from about 3 million square km in late summer to 19 million square km in early spring, represents the largest seasonal physical change on the surface of the Earth. It regulates the energy balance at high southern latitudes by both increasing the reflectivity of the Earth, thus leading to less solar energy being absorbed, but also by insulating the relatively warm ocean from the cold atmosphere.

Antarctic sea ice is notoriously difficult to accurately model. While great strides have been made in recent years, several missing processes remain. One such missing process is the representation of Landfast ice, known more simply as "fast ice". Fast ice, is sea ice which is held stationary by being mechanically fastened to stable coastal elements. Like pack ice, fast ice is largely seasonal, and forms a fringe around many parts of the Antarctic coastline. Fast ice variability is thought to be an indicator of climate change, however its drivers are incompletely understood. Its distribution is closely linked to the location of coastal polynyas: "sea ice factories" where the relatively warm ocean is directly exposed to the much colder atmosphere. Cold, salty and very dense water is formed in polynyas as a by-product of sea ice formation there, and as such, polynyas are hotspots of dense water formation. This dense water can go on to drive the global thermohaline circulation. Despite the importance of fast ice, it is currently not represented in most regional ocean-sea ice models.

This project aims to address this shortcoming by building upon the work of international collaborators and incorporating fast ice into a high resolution regional sea ice-ocean model in East Antarctica. The successful student will develop an existing ice-ocean model to include realistic Antarctic fast ice, validate this model using observations of both fast ice and physical ocean properties, and perform a series of experiments with it to both a) determine the drivers of Antarctic fast ice, and b) determine the role of fast ice in the formation of dense water masses on the continental shelf.

Supervisory Team

Alex Fraser
Wilma Huneke
Will Hobbs
Phil Reid
Paul Sandery

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below

Physical features in high resolution East Antarctic ice cores and their relationship to regional atmospheric circulation and precipitation

Project:1 Atmosphere / Project 3: Ice Shelves
Abstract

Polar ice cores are essential tools for the reconstruction of past climate. Especially valued are the air bubbles entrapped in thebice, which constitute unique archives of the Earth's past atmosphere. However, physical features in ice core records - such as bubble-free ice layers and microcrystal structure changes - are a poorly studied aspect of palaeoclimatology and ice sheet dynamics. They represent the potential to be entirely new past climate archives that can be sampled from new or existing ice core records in a non-destructive manner, via intermediate layer ice core scanning (ILCS).

Using a unique combination of datasets and approaches, this project aims to identify both the regional atmospheric processes driving the formation of physical features such as bubble-free layers and determine the snow surface conditions and physical mechanisms that occur to deposit the layers. Regional atmospheric and local meteorological conditions will be used to force the physically based snow model allowing investigation of the unique combination of factors required to form and preserve the bubble-free ice layers. The outcome of this work will form the basis of the development of an entirely new climate proxy for regional (synoptic to seasonal scale) atmospheric variability.

Supervisory Team

Sarah Thompson
Tessa Vance
Alex Fraser
Lenneke Jong
Simon Alexander

Closing Date

14th May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

For information on eligibility and the application process please click below