As part of the Antarctic Science Platform funded through AntarcticaNZ ( there is support for a three-year PhD position studying sea ice over the Ross Sea region, focusing on the area around the Ross Sea polynya. The Platform has a focus on the Ross Sea and sea ice variability is central to many components of the research.

The work under the scholarship aims to work across spatial scales from the hemispheric to the local, to interpret changes in sea ice characteristics at the 1km scale in terms of changes in atmospheric circulation and the wider sea ice field on scales of tens of kilometres and larger. Questions we wish to address include: What is the highest spatial scale of sea ice characteristics that can be accurately derived using downscaling? Are there wind speed thresholds associated with the presence or absence of sea ice in the polynya region or in the marginal ice zone?

The work will involve statistical analysis of data from a range of sources, including atmospheric reanalyses (primarily ERA5), large-scale sea ice concentration and motion data (~25km scale), and high-resolution (~1km scale) sea ice characteristics, from a range of satellite platforms. The approaches to be used will include techniques such as Cluster Analysis, Self-Organising Maps, Empirical Orthogonal Functions, and also data-driven machine-learning techniques.

The results of the research will provide insights into the morphology of sea ice in the present-day climate and will lead to estimates of the future of sea ice in the Ross Sea region through application to climate model output. The work will be supervised by Prof James Renwick at Victoria University of Wellington and Prof Adrian McDonald at Canterbury University. The successful applicant will also be expected to interact with researchers at Otago University and at NIWA and GNS. As part of the wider Antarctic Science Platform team, the successful applicant may have the opportunity to travel to Antarctica for field work.

Applications close 31 August 2020.

For more information, and to apply, see