Study the West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Response to a Two Degree Increase

Closing Date: 26/05/2022

Funding for teams of researchers to contribute towards delivery of the aims of the sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a warming of two degree Celsius (SWAIS 2C) programme through sediment core analysis, ice sheet modelling and other investigations.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has launched the Study the West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Response to a Two Degree Increase funding call. The aim is to enhance understanding of how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will respond to an increase in global temperature of two degrees. Data acquired through funded studies will be used to test climate and ice sheet models.

The sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a warming of two degree Celsius (SWAIS 2C) programme aims to improve understanding of the sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a two degree Celsius increase in global temperature. Membership of the SWAIS 2C science team is based on national contribution.

SWAIS 2C is led by New Zealand, and the UK is a programme member. In addition to New Zealand and the UK, countries that have confirmed their participation in SWAIS 2C are USA, Germany, South Korea, Australia and Italy. Additional countries are considering contributing to the programme.

As part of the SWAIS 2C programme, sediment cores will be retrieved from below the Ross Ice Shelf and will be used to determine how the ice sheet behaved in the past. This understanding will help to test climate and ice sheet models used to project future response to increasing temperatures. Sediment cores will be retrieved from two sites over two Antarctic field seasons (one per season).

NERC has secured six places for UK researchers to gain access to the sediment cores and contribute towards delivery of the aims of the programme. These researchers will form part of the SWAIS 2C science team. After each field season the science team will take part in a core workshop in New Zealand to describe and sample the cores.

As part of this funding opportunity, NERC is looking for UK researchers who can provide specific expertise to SWAIS 2C in the following areas:

  • Isotope geochemical provenance analyses.
  • Ice sheet modelling.
  • Cosmogenic nuclide analyses.
  • Sedimentary facies analyses of sub-ice shelf sequences.
  • Integration of sedimentary records with pre-existing ice core records.

Applicants must identify a team of six researchers with a range of expertise across the funding areas. The proposal must include a science plan that outlines how the team will contribute towards delivery of the SWAIS 2C programme. Science plans must include:

  • Which SWAIS 2C hypotheses will be addressed.
  • The specific scientific objectives.
  • Which methods will be used to meet the objectives.
  • Sampling requirements (ie the size of the core sample needed for analysis, approximate sample spacing, total number of samples anticipated, and any special handling or treatment requirements).

Project team members can be tenured academics or postdoctoral researchers. The proposal can suggest research or request samples from either or both of the two planned drill seasons.

Funding body Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Maximum value £2,400,000
Reference ID S23545
Category Natural Environment

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