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Durham University

Department of Geography

News Archive

Post Doctoral Research Associate - Ref: 2213

(4 July 2016)

The Geography Department at Durham University seeks to appoint a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) for a period of 18 months on a project that will use new constraints on 3D Earth structure across West Antarctica to advance our understanding of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) in the region. GIA is the ongoing response of the Earth to past ice sheet change and it contaminates measurements relating to present-day ice sheet change, particularly in West Antarctica where there have been significant changes in ice extent since the Last Glacial Maximum. Existing GIA models, which do not account for lateral variations in Earth structure, are unable to explain the pattern of uplift recorded at continuous GPS sites across the region. In order to address this, new seismic data collected by project partners at the University of Leeds and the British Antarctic Survey will be used to build a finite element model that incorporates detailed 3D Earth structure in the southern Antarctic Peninsula, this model will then be used to determine the solid Earth response to past ice and ocean load changes. The overall aim of the project is to quantify the impact of lateral variations in Earth rheology on GIA in West Antarctica, and hence better constrain contemporary ice mass change.

The PDRA will be involved in developing and running the 3D GIA model, and they will use comparisons between the modelling results, geodetic measurements of present-day solid Earth deformation, and records of past sea-level change to improve our understanding of past and present ice sheet change. The post will require experience in numerical modelling of physical processes, and a working knowledge of ice sheet and solid Earth dynamics will be beneficial.

This project contributes to a larger project funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). UK project partners are the University of Leeds and the British Antarctic Survey; overseas partners are the University of Tasmania and Washington University in St Louis. The PDRA will join the Ice Sheets and Sea Level research group at Durham University. The post will start from 1st January 2017 for 18 months.

Interviews will be held in early September.

Further information can be found on the project website ( and enquiries about the advertised post can be made to:

Dr Pippa Whitehouse


Tel: +44-(0)191-334-1877

Closing Date: 12th August 2016