November 2012
Message 10

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[Met-jobs] FW: PhD opportunity in Polar Meteorology

From "Kirchgaessner, Amelie C.R." <>
To "" <>
Date Thu, 1 Nov 2012 12:13:35 +0000

BAS anticipates a studentship in the following topic in 2013  (subject to 

Investigating the spatial distribution of Föhn conditions and their impact on 
surface melt over the Larsen Ice Shelf

Dr Amélie Kirchgaessner (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 0ET) Dr. 
Andrew Ross (School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 

1995 and 2002 saw the dramatic break-up and collapse of huge parts of the 
Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica. It is widely accepted that hydrofracturing (melt 
water enters crevasses and prevents their refreezing) is the mechanism behind 
the break-up of the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves. Adiabatic warming of the 
air on the lee side of mountains, so called Föhn winds, are thought to provide 
the atmospheric conditions for significant warming over the Larsen Ice Shelf 
thus leading to the initial firn densification and subsequently providing the 
melt water for hydrofracturing. Measurements have provided evidence that in 
some cases Föhn events reach an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) over 100km from 
the foot of the Antarctic Peninsula mountains.

This student project will use archived mesoscale model output from the 
Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System AMPS to spatially analyse surface 
parameters during cases of Föhn events identified in AWS measurements during 
2011.  The student will perform high resolution model simulations with the 
Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to compare how the representation 
of these cases differs depending on model resolution. A combination of model 
data and AWS observations will be used to study the spatial and temporal 
distribution of Föhn events over the entire Larsen Ice Shelf, their impact on 
surface melt conditions, and their potential role in past and potential future 
ice shelf break ups in the area. 

This NERC PhD Studentship is linked to the British Antarctic Survey Climate 
Programme. In the Climate programme we use climate and weather model 
simulations together with observations from both polar regions to improve our 
understanding of how natural and human-induced factors contribute to climate 
change. More information about the programme can be found at

The student will be based at BAS, supervised by Dr. Amélie Kirchgaessner and 
Dr. John King. The student will be registered in the School of Earth and 
Environment at the University of Leeds with Dr. Andrew Ross as University 
supervisor. A close link to NCAS will be provided through Dr. Ralph Burton, who 
will act as co-supervisor in Leeds. 

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a first or upper second-class degree 
in Meteorology/ Atmospheric Sciences/ Physics, or closely related relevant 
discipline. As the use of a sophisticated numerical model is an essential part 
of the project, candidates should be highly numerate and must be able to 
demonstrate evidence of good computing/IT skills. The studentship will provide 
excellent training in the analysis of large data sets and in numerical 
modelling. No fieldwork is planned for this project.

The studentship is expected to last 3.5 years from October 2013 subject to NERC 
funding.  Stipend for 2012/2013 was £13,590 p.a.  For eligibility criteria, 
please go to:

Requests for further information on this studentship should be addressed to Dr. 
Amélie Kirchgaessner ( Applications should include a cover 
letter, CV and the e-mail addresses of two referees, and should be sent to Please quote reference number BASDTG/kirc/3 

Closing date for applications is 31st January 2013.

For further details about the British Antarctic Survey please see:

Dr. Amélie Kirchgessner FRMetS
British Antarctic Survey
+44 (0)1223 211359

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