Ocean-ice shelf modeller wins Fulbright Scholarship
Ocean modeller David Gwyther has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship and will spend 12 months at the University of Texas at Austin helping to develop models of ocean and ice shelf interaction.
“This interaction is a poorly understood but critical component of climate change,” David said. “My project aims to improve simulations of ice shelves in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, leading to improved understanding of ice shelf melting, ice sheet flow and global sea level rise.”
Twenty-seven talented Australians were presented with their Fulbright and Anne Wexler Scholarships at a ceremony at Parliament House on Thursday 21 March. The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, and the U.S. Ambassador, Mr Jeffrey Bleich, both participated in the event.
David’s research will use data and observations from the international ICECAP project to help model the way the ice and ocean interact more than 2000 metres below the ocean’s surface in the Totten Glacier region of East Antarctica.
He will work on refining existing ROMS ocean models of the Totten Glacier region by adding information from ICECAP, a project that is using airborne radar and gravitimetry to map the topography beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet and the Totten ice shelf. The ICECAP team is led from the University of Austin at Texas and includes ACE CRC/AAD glaciologists Tas van Ommen, Jason Roberts and Roland Warner.
David is looking in particular at the ocean-ice sheet interaction in the cavity that exists beneath Antarctic ice shelves. While satellites have been effective in providing information on the elevation of the ice above sea level, they cannot provide information on the depth of the ice beneath the ocean surface, or the distance between the bottom of the ice shelf and the ocean floor. Information from the ICECAP project can help to fill this gap.
David is doing his PhD though the CSIRO-UTAS Program in Quantitative Marine Science. His supervisors are ACE CRC/AAD glaciologist Ben Galton-Fenzi, ACE CRC/AAD ice-sheet modeller Jason Roberts, and ACE CRC Honorary Fellows and sea-level rise experts John Hunter and John Church. David will take up the scholarship in July this year.