We are offering two PhD scholarships to explore ice core data-constrained modelling efforts to improve our understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise during the last interglacial warm period.
Application deadline: 31 May 2021
In a rapidly warming world, the potentially catastrophic deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) remains a primary cause of uncertainty in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sea level rise projections1. Updated global mean sea level rise projections suggest that atmospheric warming exceeding the Paris Agreement target, will commit WAIS and perhaps East Antarctica’s marine based ice sheets (ice grounded below sea level) to irreversible retreat causing global sea level to rise2. Urgently needed adaption strategies are hampered by large inter-model variability and poorly quantified uncertainties in future projections3. Applying the IPCC high emission scenario (RCP 8.5), sea level projections to 2100 range from 0.7 to 1.7 m2,4,5 by 2100. The large range of inter-model variability of future projections suggests that key physical processes and their effects are not yet adequately captured or understood, leading to important uncertainties6,7.
Since March 2016 five new graduate students commenced their studies on the RICE records:
Hannah Brightley - MSc (New Zealand, Mar 2016)
Lukas Eling - PhD (Germany, Apr 2016)
Abhijith Ulayottil Venugopal - PhD (India, Apr 2016)
Dan Lowry - PhD (USA, Jul 2016)
Katelyn Johnson - PhD (USA, Aug 2016)
Please find more information on them and their projects under the RICE Team site
Predicting a sea change: Antarctic ice-ocean interactions in a warming world
Nancy Bertler, Rob McKay, Nick Golledge, Lionel Carter, Rob Dunbar, Matt England and Howard Conway are awarded a prestigious Marsden Research Grant.
During the Mid Pliocene, 3-5 million years ago, high carbon dioxide concentrations (400 parts per million) caused vulnerable margins of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets to collapse, raising global sea level by at least 10 m. In 2013, the Earth's atmosphere registered for the first time since then equally high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. So, how and when will the ice sheets and the surrounding Southern Ocean respond? Increased wind-driven upwelling of deep ocean water onto the adjacent continental margin is suggested as the major driver to melt ice shelves and destabilise ice sheets, highlighting the complex atmosphere to ocean to ice interactions. This project will integrate data from two new, annually layered records of past climate conditions preserved in a coastal ice core (RICE) and a marine sediment (IODP-U1357) record. This will enable the reconstruction of concurrent changes in the atmosphere, ocean, and ice sheet through past warm periods and grounding line retreat. Supported by ocean / ice sheet model experiments, this will allow us to determine the response of the Antarctic ice sheets and the surrounding ocean with the aim to identify the key mechanisms and feedbacks to improve projections of Antarctica's response in the 21st Century. The three year project will commence in March 2016.