Polar climate is changing faster than other parts of the world owing to local feedbacks and remote influences (poleward moisture transport). This will affect polar climate variability, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and Arctic sea ice melt. As a result, local surface evaporation will increase, providing moisture that may lead to enhanced ice sheet accumulation. Hence, poleward moisture transport processes and variability will not only affect warming rates leading to surface melt, but also to enhanced precipitation, partly through sea ice changes. Within this project we aim to address these complex interactions by combining state-of-the-art climate models simulations of present-day and future climates with dedicated in-house sensitivity simulations with the Earth System Model EC-Earth. In this way we will examine the impacts of changes in both the mean climate and climate variability, and also consider extreme events (and trends therein) that may disproportionally affect ice sheet mass balance, both in the Arctic and in the Antarctic, with the focus on the potentially modulating role of sea ice. For example, strong (future) warming events over West-Antarctica caused by poleward moisture advection and sea ice retreat may trigger ice shelf instability and sea level rise.

This multidisciplinary project is part of a larger National Polar Programme project called “Dutch Polar Climate and Cryosphere Change Consortium” and will as such bring together specialists in climate change, ice sheet mass balance and sea level changes from various Dutch institutes and universities (RUG/ESRIG/OE, KNMI, IMAU/UU, Deltares, TUD, NIOZ). The PhD-candidate will be stationed at the Royal Netherland Meteorological Institute, KNMI (De Bilt), but is expected to work on average 1-2 days per week at RUG/ESRIG (Groningen).

At RUG/ESRIG you will further receive excellent training through innovative research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years. You are expected to contribute 10% of the overall workload to teaching.

More info at: