PhD PROJECTS

ACEAS Student Projects and Scholarships

From the second half of 2021, a number of PhD research projects related to the research programs of the Centre will be advertised here and on Australian university partner web sites for proposed commencement in January 2022 and beyond.  Applicants will be able to apply for Stipend Scholarships and fee waivers from the participating Australian Universities or from other sources, as well as Top-up Scholarships from ACEAS.

It is anticipated that many PhD graduates will have careers in industry and government, as well as in research and academia.  And, so, ACEAS is committed to training PhD students in their specialist area of research as well as in Antarctic science broadly plus Antarctic policy, governance, and law. The research of ACEAS will have particular focus on end-user engagement and early career researchers will be trained in communicating with those groups and the public through the media (including social media).

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD with ACEAS, please check this page regularly to look for advertised opportunities or contact a relevant supervisor directly.

GPS measurement of deformation of East Antarctica

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

This project will focus on the analysis of GPS data with state-of-the-art techniques in order to better understand the deformation of Antarctica. It will make use of a new set of GPS sites in East Antarctica deployed. It will apply novel techniques to remove time series noise and compare these to numerical models developed from existing codes and from outputs provided by third parties. These results will be important for understanding present-day ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise and in gaining fundamental understanding into the interior of the Earth. The project will provide students with advanced skills in numerical analysis, interpretation and presentation.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King

 

Impact of changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice on the carbon cycle

Program 1 I UNSW

It is hypothesised that the Southern Ocean played a central role in past climate and carbon cycle changes. In addition, the Southern Ocean is one of today’s largest oceanic sink of anthropogenic carbon. The PhD student will perform numerical experiments with Earth system models to better understand how Southern Ocean climate and carbon cycle respond to different forcings, and how this can feedback on other parts of the climate system. More specifically the student will study how changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice impact the marine carbon cycle.

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Laurie Menviel

 

Glacial Isostatic Adjustment in the Denman Glacier region, East Antarctica

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

The Earth continues to deform following past changes in glacial loading and unloading, notably since the Last Glacial Maximum. The Denman Glacier region shows surprisingly low rates of present-day uplift and this is yet to be explained by models of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice-ocean loading changes. This gap in knowledge affects estimates of present-day ice mass change (and hence sea-level change) as GIA is an essential correction to satellite datasets of ice-sheet change.

This project will focus on modelling the deformation of the Denman Glacier region based on new ice history and relative sea-level data, new GPS bedrock velocities, and numerical models of glacial isostatic adjustment and sea-level processes.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King

 

Climate variability in satellite observations of Antarctic Ice Sheet change

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

This project focuses on the reasons why the mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheet changes and hence why Antarctica’s contribution to sea level varies over time. The project will make use of two different satellite datasets: 1) revolutionary estimates of ice sheet mass change from the GRACE and GRACE-Follow On missions; and 2) incredibly fine detailed estimates of ice sheet elevation change from a range of satellite altimetry missions.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King

Developing ways to understand the glacial history of East Antarctica from minerals found in sediments

Program 3 I University of Western Australia

A knowledge of the glacial history of Antarctica is needed to help to predict future effects of a changing climate. This project seeks to develop a more robust technique to better analyse records of past periods as predictors of East Antarctic glacial history.

This PhD project will develop and apply approaches to the analysis of detrital data using a Bayesian probabilistic framework to interrogate models of detrital generation and transport. These techniques will seek to find, for records of past deposition, the most likely state of the erosion and sediment transport system in the past, and in so doing will define the most likely state of the ice sheet and the ocean in Antarctica.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Alan Aitken (UWA)

Ocean processes impacting warming around the Antarctic margin

Program 1 and Program 3 I University of New South Wales

Climate change risks driving rapid ocean warming at the Antarctic margin, with marine terminating ice-sheets locking up many meters of potential global sea-level rise. Change has already been detected via deep ocean warming, land-ice melt, and ice shelf collapse. Yet the associated oceanic processes controlling ice shelf cavity warming remain poorly understood, with only limited observations due to both a harsh environment and a lack of standard data streams (e.g. satellite altimetry and Argo floats). This PhD project aims to use high-resolution global and regional ocean/sea-ice models to examine mechanisms for rapid warming of Antarctic continental shelf waters via both large-scale drivers and fine-scale processes, including mesoscale eddies, tide-topography interactions, and bottom boundary flows.

Primary Supervisor: Prof Matt England

For more details please contact Prof Matt England m.england@unsw.edu.au 

Records of past ice shelves and their melt rates in the Denman Glacier area

Program 2 I University of Canberra

This project will utilise novel isotopic tools to reconstruct past ice shelves and ocean circulation on the continental-shelf in the Denman Glacier region. Ice shelf melt in this area is presently some of the fastest in Antarctica, and the glaciers feeding the site are undergoing some of the most rapid thinning observed in the East Antarctic coastline. The PhD will utilise sediment-based archives collected from around the region to deduce the history of ice shelves in the area, and understand changes in the rate and distribution of sub-shelf ice melt. These outputs will place modern processes in context, and provide critical observations to validate ice shelf-ocean models used to project future change in this critical area.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Duanne White

Applications close 31 March 2023

For more details contact Dr Duanne White