Contribution of sub-Antarctic ice caps to global sea level rise

Country: United Kingdom;

Deadline: 20.07.2015



This project aims to establish how much the ice caps on sub-Antarctic islands are contributing to global sea level rise (SLR). Relative to their area, their contribution to SLC could rival the much larger polar ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.

The small ice caps of Alaska and Patagonia, which are relatively maritime in their location, have already been shown to contribute more to SLR, relative to their size, than the polar ice sheets (Berthier et al 2010, Arendt et al, 2002, Rignot et al, 2003) and therefore are of great concern to humanity. The ice caps of islands in the South Atlantic (namely South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney Islands, Bouvet Island and others) could be contributing yet more. If this were to be the case it would be the greatest contribution, relatively speaking, to SLR yet measured. This would have great societal impact in terms of the rate and timing of sea level rise and inundation of coastal properties and infrastructure, especially during increasingly frequent and severe storm events around the entire world.

Often studied in isolation, this project will instead use Geodetic Techniques to quantify mass-balance on all South Atlantic ice caps in a consistent manor. In turn it will also be possible to observe any acceleration in the rate of ice loss. Changes in ice elevation will be quantified using a time series of archive aerial photography and other sources (inc. SRTM and laser altimetry) processed with modern geomatics techniques (inc. photogrammetry). Changes in the ice flow itself will also be observed using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) time series (1991-present).

This PhD will appeal most to those with a keen interest and experience in one or more following subjects: glaciology, geomorphology, remote sensing, geomatics and geophysics. Candidates with experience of photogrammetry and/or InSAR are especially encouraged to apply, although this is not a prerequisit as training can be provided. Familiarity with GIS is highly desireable and a willingness to learn new computing skills essential.

How to apply: Applications are made via our website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button below, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years.
All candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honours degree at Upper Second Class (2.1) and/or an appropriate Master’s degree. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.


Funding Notes:

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £14,000 (unless otherwise specified) per annum, to cover their living expenses and have their fees waived for 36 months. In addition, research costs, including field work and conference attendance, will be met.
Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and International students unless otherwise specified.