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PhD Projects

For each of the the projects listed below, funding including stipend, fees and project costs is available on a competitive basis. Please contact the named supervisors for more details.

The PhD candidates will work as part of the Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future program, in the Monash Ice Sheet Initiative.

Earth's systems impact everyone, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, age, religion, neurodiversity, identity and experience. We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace culture, and value the many benefits offered by a diverse group of researchers. We heartily encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply. The positions are open to all nationalities.

Investigating past and future surface mass balance forcing in East Antarctica and its impact on ice sheet dynamics

The contribution of ice mass loss from the Antarctic continent is the largest uncertainty in projections of sea level rise over the coming century. Constraining this estimate requires knowledge of the dynamics and processes governing ice flow (e.g. basal melting, paleo-accumulation rates) and their spatial and temporal variations. 


This project will examine historical variability in climate forcings and evolution of East Antarctic glaciers. The candidate will use geophysical data (ice penetrating radar) to derive ice accumulation records over East Antarctic basins. These paleo-accumulation rates will be used to analyse ice dynamic processes governing the past evolution of the East Antarctic ice sheet, in combination with an ice sheet model (ISSM).

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.

How has the ice sheet bed controlled the retreat of Antarctica’s rapidly changing glaciers?

Observations over the last few decades highlight that parts of the Antarctic ice sheet are losing mass at an accelerating rate. Conditions at the glacier bed – such as the elevation, slope and slipperiness – can influence the spatial and temporal response of the glacier to climate change. Due to the relatively short period of observations, properly understanding the role of the bed in past and present ice sheet change requires assessment over centuries to millennia.

This project will examine the influence of bed topography on glacier retreat during the Holocene (the last approx. 10,000 years) and through the last century up to today. The foci will be Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, which is experiencing the largest changes in Antarctica today, and Vanderford Glacier, the fastest retreating glacier in East Antarctica.

The PhD candidate will use numerical ice sheet models (ISSM and Úa), and should have at least some experience of computer programming (e.g. python, matlab) and a background in geoscience/glaciology or physics/mathematics.

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