Fully Funded PhD Scholarship / Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Ice Core Project

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Fully Funded PhD Scholarship / Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Ice Core Project

Nancy Bertler
Fully Funded PhD Scholarship / Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) Ice Core Project
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Application Deadline: 15th June 2011


RICE is an international collaboration between New Zealand, U.S.A., Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Italy. The aim of the project is to recover a 750 m deep ice core from Roosevelt Island in Antarctica to determine the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctica in a warming world.

The PhD project will involve fieldwork in Antarctica (optional), ice core processing in the New Zealand Ice Core Research Laboratory at GNS Science, and analysis of soluble and insoluble trace element concentration using ICP-MS at the Geochemistry Laboratory at Victoria University. The project will contribute to the interpretation of RICE ice core with a focus on the past 2,000 years.

The successful applicant will be based at the Joint Antarctic Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington and GNS Science and will be part of the international RICE team with the opportunity to partake in our graduate student exchange programme with RICE partner institutions. The ideal candidate will have an MSc degree awarded with distinction in Earth Sciences, Chemistry, or Physics with a strong interest in paleoclimatology. Experience in geochemical techniques would be an advantage, as would a publication from the candidate’s MSc thesis.

For more information, please see below or contact Nancy Bertler ([hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>).

Interested applicants should send a CV and email addresses of two referees to: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>. Application Deadline is the 15th June 2011. Start date is as soon as possible.


RICE Background Information
The potential for rapid deglaciation of West Antarctica remains a primary uncertainty in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions for 21st Century sea level rise. The recent and unpredicted collapse of multiple ice shelves and rapid acceleration of discharge of Antarctic ice suggests that dynamical responses to warming play a more significant role than is currently understood and captured in coupled climate-ice sheet models. Such models can be improved and validated by replicating known past changes. The Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution (RICE) project is an international partnership seeking to understand past, present, and future changes of the Ross Ice Shelf, a major drainage pathway of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. About 5 to 3 million years ago, the last time when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and temperatures were similar to those predicted for the end of the 21st Century, the Ross Ice Shelf disintegrated multiple times, initiating the collapse of West Antarctica. However, no high resolution data exist from this time period. To determine the rate of change, RICE aims to provide an annually resolved ice core record for the past 20,000 years, when global temperatures increased by 6 deg C to preindustrial temperatures, global sea level rose by ~120 m, and the Ross Ice Shelf grounding line retreated over 1,000 km. Most of the Ross Ice Shelf retreat occurred when global sea level had already reached modern levels. For this reason, the precise correlation between increasing air and ocean temperatures, and the velocity and characteristics of the ice shelf retreat, provides a unique opportunity to determine accurately the sensitivity of the Ross Ice Shelf to warming. The trace element record will allow us to i) reconstruct atmospheric circulation pattern and ii) to characterise dust flux and hence nutrient transport into the Ross Sea, an important region of bottom water formation.


Webpages of Interest:
Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University – http://www.victoria.ac.nz/antarctic/
GNS Science, Ice Core Research Laboratory – http://www.gns.cri.nz/icecore
Nancy Bertler – http://www.victoria.ac.nz/antarctic/staff/nancy-bertler.aspx
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