PhD opportunity on modelling Firn evolution at Lancaster University and CPOM

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PhD opportunity on modelling Firn evolution at Lancaster University and CPOM

Leeson, Amber
Dear all,

We are currently recruiting to a competition funded PhD studentship in 'Understanding observed ice sheet change by modelling firn evolution'.

The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica currently contribute 30-40% of global sea level rise. Since the early 1990’s, when systematic satellite monitoring began, ice sheet mass loss has accelerated with time, as more ice has been melted and lost to the ocean than has been replenished by snowfall. When fresh snow falls on an ice sheet, it passes through an intermediary stage known as firn, before it fully compacts to ice. Estimating the properties of the firn layer, and how it evolves under a warming climate, is a critical step for measuring the ice sheets’ contribution to sea level rise, yet remains one of the key sources of uncertainty in present assessments. Understanding density changes and meltwater percolation within the firn layer, as surface melting progressively spreads inland, for example, remains challenging. Although firn models which aim to simulate these processes have made significant progress in recent years, they still tend to rely upon empirically derived coefficients, and their formal treatment of uncertainty is limited. As such, firn model development has the potential to deliver one of the greatest reductions in the uncertainties associated with current estimates of the ice sheet contribution to sea level rise.

This project will develop a new state-of-the-science firn model which, 1) is based on cutting edge understanding of processes which contribute to firn evolution, with minimal dependence on empirical assumptions, 2) allows for the quantification of uncertainty, including propagation through model integrations and 3) provides near-real time estimates of firn density for operational use by the satellite monitoring community.

Full studentships are available on a competitive basis:  UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£14,296 2016/17 [tax free])) for
UK/EU students for 3.5 years or International tuition fees and stipend (£14,296 2015/16 [tax free])) for International students for 3 years.

For more information or to apply please click here: . The deadline for applications is midnight (UTC) on the 28th February 2017.

Best Wishes,

Amber Leeson, Keith Beven, Mal McMillan and Andy Shepherd

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