January 2021
Message 18

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[Met-jobs] PhD position in polar ocean modelling

From "Berg, W.J. van de (Willem Jan)" <>
To "" <>
Date Thu, 7 Jan 2021 16:27:07 +0000

Dear all,

We would like to draw your attention to an fully paid PhD position at IMAU, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, on modelling ocean-ice shelf interaction (1.0 FTE). For the full description and application form, see: 

The briefest possible description of the project is: 

Model the interaction between Antarctic ice shelves and the ocean by explicitly resolving the circulation below ice shelves.

This project will be carried out in close collaboration with NCAR, CO, USA, and will contribute to the development of CESM3, an Earth System Model of the upcoming CMIP7 generation.

The deadline for applications is 12 January 2021, and applications should be done online - link is given above. 

Best regards,

Willem Jan van de Berg

Utrecht University
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU)

More information
Job description

Scientists once thought that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is stable on century time scales. However, after three decades of satellite observations, we know that mass loss in West Antarctica is accelerating, and parts of this ice sheet are possibly close to a tipping point of rapid mass loss. The primary driver of the current mass loss is a warming ocean, melting the ice shelves from below. In recent years, the scientific community has developed improved ice sheet models that can represent the relevant physical processes of ice flow in sufficient detail. Furthermore, ocean models are starting to represent the ocean flow below ice shelves. The next challenge is interactively coupling these improved models in, eventually, Earth System models so that the dynamic response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in a warming world can be projected, including ice-ocean-atmosphere feedbacks.

In this project, you will investigate the ice-shelf–ocean interaction using the Community Earth System Model (CESM). The current model version, CESM2, supports interactive ice sheets, and the next-generation version, CESM3, will include (unlike most state-of-the-art models) a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet and explicitly resolved ocean circulation below ice shelves. CESM3 is still being developed and is not yet tuned to represent optimally the Earth’s climate. This project will start with running and analysing idealized regional cases using interactively the ice-sheet, ice-shelf, ocean, and sea ice components of CESM3. Next, a similar regional setup will be applied to part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, e.g. the Weddell Sea sector including the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. The focus of the last years of the project will be decided later, but could be, for example, running CESM3 as a regional model resolving the whole of Antarctica and the surrounding ocean. During the whole project, you will collaborate extensively with researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO, USA, who are leading the development and implementation of the ice sheet and ocean model into CESM3. It is also foreseen that you will do a research traineeship at NCAR during the project.

This position is part of the DP4C project, a collaboration between researchers at Utrecht University, Technical University Delft, Deltares, KNMI and  University of Groningen. The project addresses the importance of climate change in polar areas for the Netherlands, in particular changes in the ice sheets and sea ice, ultimately focussing on the trend in sea level change and the chances for extreme sea level events.

15% of your time will be spend to assisting in courses for undergraduate and master students in (climate) physics.

We aim to start the project on the first of April 2021.

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