Posted on: 21 December, 2018
Application deadline: January 31, 2019

PhD Opportunities: YODASLAMS: YOunger DryAs Stadial Landform DynAMicS in Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, QUADRAT, Belfast, United Kingdom

Project Description

“Rapid climatic changes, as occurred during the Late Glacial, can serve as an analogue for the present. During the Younger Dryas Stadial (Greenland Stadial‐1: GS‐1; ca. 12.9–11.7 ka), ice masses developed in many mountain ranges in Europe in response to rapid climatic cooling. In many parts of Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland, the extent of these glaciers, and the climate that allowed their formation, has been the focus of considerable study. However, in Ireland, while palaeoenvironmental evidence for cooling is present, climatic conditions and the extent of glaciers during the Younger Dryas remain poorly understood. Palaeoglacier reconstruction have been demonstrated to provide quantitative estimates of palaeoprecipitation. At regional scale, this can be linked to atmospheric circulation (e.g. polar front jet stream) and help to answer important questions regarding the extent and duration of sea ice cover.

This project will establish the former extent of Younger Dryas Stadial glaciers in Ireland. The region’s glacial geomorphology will be mapped using remote sensing data and during field‐based investigations in order to reconstruct the extent and geometry of these glaciers. Chronology will be established through a combination of cosmogenic radionuclides, 14C and Schmidt hammer exposure dating (SHED). Three‐dimensional reconstructions of glaciers will be generated and their ELA extracted using state-of-the-art GIS tools. Palaeoclimate will be investigated using degree‐day modelling (DDM), the ELA-climate relationship and other available climatic proxies. This project will integrate the student with PhD cohorts in both institutions with foci in glacial and geomorphological processes, climate change, alongside the opportunity to work with industry partners.

The project seeks a highly motivated student interested in applying a range of diverse and cutting-edge techniques to tackle important environmental issues. The student will be supervised by a team of experts in glaciology, geomorphology, sedimentology, and modelling. Ideal candidates will have a background in at least one of these areas, with prior experience of at least one of the proposed techniques particularly welcome.

The PhD studentship is part of the NERC doctoral training centre “QUADRAT” (Queen’s University Belfast and University of Aberdeen). QUADRAT provides high quality training in many aspects essential to future employment, including field-based experience, science communication skills and a Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership.”

Funding Notes

This studentship is available to UK and other EU nationals and provides funding for tuition fees and stipend, subject to eligibility.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject.


Application Procedure:

(1) Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences; (2) State name of the lead supervisor as the name of proposed supervisor; (3) State QUADRAT DTP as intended source of funding; (4) State the exact project title on the application form.

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