Tracking retreat processes at the Virkisjokull glacier, Iceland

Deadline for Applications: Applications accepted all year round
Funding Type: Self-Funded Students Only
Type of Study: Masters by Research


MSc (Research) 12 month research programme

Supervisors: Dr Mike James, Dr Hugh Tuffen, Dr Jez Everest (British Geological Survey (BGS))

The current climatic trend is causing significant global ice loss, and the importance in understanding the links between climate and glaciers is ever increasing. Over the last few years the British Geological Survey (BGS) has been monitoring the Virkisjokull glacier in Iceland, and their work has resulted in large volumes of time-lapse imagery and 3D laser scanning data of the glacier. Initial analysis indicates that Virkisjokull is retreating rapidly, and may have accelerated in the last 5 years. This project would aim to understand the controlling factors behind this retreat by linking the 3D and 2D (time-lapse) data into a dense record of surface change and ice velocity. Results will be compared with models such as degree-day surface melt estimates, as recently carried out for a similar project on Solheimjokull. With high temporal resolution time-lapse data (e.g. daily) the project will also look for any variability that could be linked to structural changes in the glacier. You will be part of a large research team comprising personnel within the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS). Your objective will be to integrate time-lapse footage and 3D laser scan data to quantify the rates and processes of surface change at Virkisjokull, linking with other data streams (e.g. meteorological) to assess the overall driving controls. Your main research efforts will be undertaken within LEC, but with fieldwork opportunities and data provided through the BGS. We seek a highly motivated, independent and enthusiastic student with a keen interest in glaciology and geospatial techniques to undertake this 12-month research project.

Further Information on BGS Virkisjokull observatory.

Academic requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree in an appropriate subject.

For further information or informal discussion about the position, please contact Dr Mike James.

Application process: Please refer to the LEC guidance notes on applying.

Funding Notes

This project is offered on a self-funding basis. Fees for EU and non-EU students are available from Postgraduate Research Fees.