Using satellite data to track the disintegration of Antarctic peninsula glacier Larsen C (17/12)

Company: The Open University, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Location: Milton Keynes

Company Description: The Open University has committed, through the creation of the Space Strategic Research Area (Space SRA), to generating a step-change in its capability to address global challenges and its role in the growth of the space sector of the UK economy. The aim of the Space SRA is to contribute to significant cross-fertilization of people, instrumentation, and ideas. To support research infrastructure, develop research leadership, and cultivate new collaborations and partnerships.

Project Description:

The impending collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf, on the north-eastern coast of the Antarctic peninsula, is an echo of events which occurred to Larsen A and B. This is the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica with an area of 50000 km2 and was reported as relatively stable in 2004. In 2016 large cracks were found indicating the structure was no longer stable. The aim of this project is to map the beginning of this event with unprecedented accuracy. The topography of the site has been constantly monitored since 1991 by the ERS-1 and 2, ASAR and Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. By using image processing technology developed for measuring lab based fluid flows called particle image velocimetry (PIV), initiation, propagation and failure of these ice flows can be measured. These historical and current data, in combination with cutting edge image processing tools, will be used to produce insight in to the forthcoming demise of this ice shelf.

Student Specification:

  • A person suitable for this project would be studying for a degree in engineering, physics or similar related subjects.
  • Knowledge of either Matlab or Python scripting languages would be beneficial.

The Nitty Gritty:

8 week fixed term contract to be agreed with the successful candidate, but expected to start during June 2017. £310 per week (£1,350 pcm) gross. Induction Day will be at Harwell on 26 June 2017.

Closing Date for Applications: This role is now closed.

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