Ph.D. opportunity in Greenland tidewater glacier dynamics

The Glaciers Dynamics lab at the University of Idaho seeks a curious, hard-working, quantitatively-oriented Ph.D. student to study tidewater glacier dynamics around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Following Saturday’s successful launch of ICESat-2, the successful applicant will draw on the satellite’s high spatial- and temporal-resolution elevation data to understand outlet glacier change.  Potential research targets include iceberg calving, ice-ocean interactions, crevassing, and glacier bed coupling.  The successful applicant will contribute to a NASA-funded project, co-led with Dr. Ginny Catania of the University of Texas, and will begin with at least three years of salary and tuition support as a research assistant.

Highly motivated candidates with backgrounds in geophysics, earth science, physics, mathematics, engineering, or other quantitative fields are encouraged to apply.  Programming experience with Python, R, Matlab, or similar is regarded well.  Our group values the diverse backgrounds of our members, and individuals identifying with groups underrepresented in the Earth Sciences are especially encouraged to apply.  Student support is available starting January 1, 2019, for which applicants are encouraged to apply by October 1, 2018.  However, start dates later in 2019 are possible, with later application deadlines.

The University of Idaho, in Moscow, ID, is located in the northern panhandle of Idaho, in the picturesque, vibrant, walkable, small town of Moscow (population of 25,000; https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-getaway-to-the-tuscany-of-america-1532716438).  UI has an enrollment of 12,000 students and is the state’s flagship research university.  Moscow features access to the mountains and rivers of the northern Rockies and a low cost of living.  Additional information about our group can be found at http://tbartholomaus.org/.  Information about the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Idaho, including how to apply, is here: https://www.uidaho.edu/sci/geology.  To learn more, please send a CV and short expression of interest to tbartholomaus@uidaho.edu.

And finally, congratulations to the NASA ICESat-2 team on their successful launch over the weekend!  (https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/icesat-2)

Image credit: NASA

 

Student researchers advance understanding of iceberg calving

posted in: Greenland, Research | 0

Thanks to the hardworking team of student researchers who worked together over the summer on our NASA-funded project to understand iceberg calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Undergraduate researchers Danny Bugingo and Rian Brumfield worked with M.S. candidate Tristan Amaral to compile and process the remote sensing imagery necessary to test and validate “calving laws.”  These calving laws represent the numerical rules applied in ice sheet models to define the terminus boundary of glaciers that flow directly into the ocean.  As such, evaluating their performance and selecting the best calving laws for inclusion in ice sheet models is a critical component of accurate forecasts of future ice sheet change.  This project represents the focus of Tristan’s M.S. research.

PhD student opp. to study calving in Greenland

The glacier dynamics group at the University of Idaho seeks a Ph.D. student to pursue research into the factors controlling iceberg calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  This NSF funded project, with Co-PI Dr. Ellyn Enderlin of UMaine, will draw on a wide variety of remotely sensed imagery, oceanographic data, and timelapse photography to evaluate terminus boundary conditions (calving laws) used by ice flow models.  These calving laws predict terminus positions and calving rates (formally: “frontal ablation rates”) around the ice sheet.  Increases in calving and submarine melt rates at the marine termini of Greenland’s tidewater outlet glaciers lead to the most rapid rates of ice loss from around the ice sheet, and therefore to acceleration in the rate of sea level rise.  Outcomes from this project will include: 1) New, mechanistic understanding of the drivers of terminus ice loss in the diversity of settings around Greenland; and 2) Model improvements in the handling of calving, thus directly leading to improved predictions of ice sheet change and sea level rise.

The successful applicant will join a growing lab group with two other graduate students in fall 2018, including a masters student working on a portion of this calving law project.  Collaboration with this student and Dr. Enderlin, and support from others in the group, provides a rich and varied research experience.  The student would additionally work towards completion of a Ph.D. within the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the Univ. of Idaho, a group of researchers with strong backgrounds in geophysics, climate change, remote sensing, numerical modeling, and statistics.  The University’s location in Moscow, ID, adjacent to the northern rockies, is an exciting and diverse geologic region with ample opportunities for diverse outdoor recreation.

This position includes two years of financial, educational, and benefits support through a research assistantship, with subsequent years of support through teaching assistantships.  Ph.D. student applicants with backgrounds in programming (python, matlab, r, etc.), geographic data analysis, and strong quantitative skills are preferred.

Expressions of interest are requested by Friday, March 2nd.  Please email a short statement of interest, a CV, and transcripts (unofficial is fine) to Dr. Timothy Bartholomaus.  Additional information about the group and the graduate school application process is available at this link and this link.  Following the statement of interest, complete applications for this opportunity should be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies prior to the project-specific deadline of March 9th.

Welcoming new graduate student Tristan Amaral

The Glacier Dynamics lab at UIdaho welcomes Tristan Amaral this semester.  Tristan will be working on a NASA and NSF-funded project to examine the controls on calving around the Greenland Ice Sheet.  He comes to us after graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire, a published paper behind him, and experience working for the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP).  We’re happy to have him in Moscow!

What’s our fieldwork like in Greenland? Watch and see

posted in: Field work, Greenland | 0

The Uummannaq region of West Greenland is a spectacular area of steep cliffs, icefalls, and long fjords.  While on a NASA-funded research project to better understand the connections between water in these fjords and the glaciers terminating there, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to fly, camp, hike, and work in this landscape.  Now, you can get a taste for our work in a 4-minute movie set to music, that draws on video footage from 2015 fieldwork, and time lapse imagery from 2013.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

Thanks to Sophie Gilbert (University of Idaho) for producing this movie.

Press write-up of AGU presentation

One of my two presentations at the AGU fall meeting this year is the subject of a well done blog post.  In the presentation, my co-authors and I reported the detection of over one million icequakes produced near the terminus of a tidewater glacier in west Greenland.  Study of these icequakes will allow us to better understand the factors controlling the flow of glacier ice, and ultimately allow scientists to make more precise predictions of sea level rise.

We’re presently about half way through the meeting this year and its been a good week so far.  During the Saturday and Sunday prior to the beginning of the AGU fall meeting, I participated in a planning workshop to lay the groundwork for a monitoring network to observe ice-ocean interactions in Greenland.  I made the case for the value of seismology in understanding tidewater glacier dynamics.

My second invited presentation is a poster on Thursday afternoon. I’ll be sharing observations and interpretations of high-rate velocity variations near the front of one of Greenland’s largest ocean-terminating glaciers.  The presentation is C43B-0805 High-resolution, terrestrial radar velocity observations and model results reveal a strong bed at stable, tidewater Rink Isbræ, West Greenland.

 

 

IMG_7397
A seismometer deployed at the terminus of a west Greenland glacier for two years, between 2013 and 2015. This station recorded over a million icequakes, year-round.

Third successful Greenland field season

After spending September in Greenland, the UT/KU team has returned from our third and final field season in the Uummannaq region of western Greenland.  We recovered equipment that has been monitoring tidewater glaciers in the region for two years, as well as made a set of shorter-term, higher-resolution observations that required us to camp adjacent to one of the glaciers for 10 days.  We’re looking forward to working with the data, and sharing our results at this fall’s AGU meeting, future conferences, and in publications.

The seismometers, GPS, timelapse cameras, and weather stations we recovered were in great shape.  We also recorded excellent terrestrial interferometric radar observations (in spite of strong, consistent katabatic winds) and more seismic and GPS data.  Due to the lateness of our field work (our previous field work has been in July and August), we also got to experience the transition in seasons, from fall to winter.  This meant wonderful twilight, rich red tundra, and the first snows on the mountain tops.

You can read more about this interdisciplinary, NASA-funded project here.

Novel views of iceberg calving presented at PARCA

At the annual meeting of the Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) hosted at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, I’ll be presenting new data that allow a more complete view of the iceberg calving process.  These data include ground-based radar interferometry, seismic, and ocean current observations that reveal how major calving events proceed over 10s of hours before, during and after an iceberg detaches from the terminus.  This PARCA presentation will be the first view of these data, collected during the 2014 summer at the terminus of Rink Isbrae in West Greenland.  Further analyses of these data, taken together, will contribute to our understand of how and why calving occurs at Greenland’s largest outlet glaciers, and what the effects of these events are on the glaciers and adjacent ocean.

The PARCA meeting takes place on January 27th in Greenbelt, Maryland.  You can read more about the project that supported collection of this data here.

Radar interferogram from Rink Isbrae, Greenland
Unwrapped radar interferogram from Rink Isbrae in Greenland, following a major calving event. The colors represent relative rates of motion towards the radar interferometer. Data is shown here in a polar reference frame, with distance between the radar shown along the x-axis and look direction shown along the y-axis.

Tim participates in international workshop to guide Greenland ice-ocean research

During the last several days, I have taken part in an international workshop to identify the major gaps in the scientific community’s understanding of interactions between the Greenland Ice Sheet and its surrounding ocean.

The workshop on Greenland Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions, under the acronym GROCE, was hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute, in Bremerhaven, Germany.  Over the two day meeting, ~28 scientists from Germany, Norway, the UK, Poland, Japan, Canada, the US and other countries framed the questions we considered most essential for understanding Greenland’s rapid changes, as well as the strategies and resources necessary to respond to those questions.  It was interesting and exciting to hear the commonalities and differences in research priorities from the broad cross section of glaciologists and oceanographers in attendance.

The report produced to summarize our workshop will be used to help guide funding agencies and the proposal efforts of the broader scientific community.

Next stop for me: San Francisco.  The annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union starts there on Monday.

Workshop attendees
Attendees at the 2014 GROCE workshop