Investigating the mechanisms controlling ice flow in Antarctica

Mass loss from key outlet glaciers in Antarctica has been accelerating in recent decades, but future estimates of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise remain highly uncertain. Contributing to this uncertainty are unknowns in the physical processes that govern ice flow, their dependencies on characteristics of the physical environment, how they vary spatially and temporally, and how these processes are represented in numerical models.


This project will use an ice sheet model to investigate the impact of the description of deformation and basal sliding on the representation of ice flow in idealised and real-world Antarctic ice streams. Existing geophysical constraints will be leveraged to understand the steady-state controls on ice dynamics and flow, and interactions between the ice sheet, and the bedrock, subglacial hydrology, and thermal conditions. The ice sheet model will then be used to investigate the sensitivity of Antarctic ice streams to past and future climate change.


Candidates are expected to have a strong background in Earth systems science or physics/mathematics/ engineering/glaciology. Experience in scientific computing (e.g. python, matlab, C/C++, fortran) or numerical modelling is also desirable.


This PhD will be conducted at the School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment, Monash University, Australia. Before applying, please email Dr Felicity McCormack to express your interest, and include in the email a cover letter, academic transcript, and curriculum vitae.


PhD Projects