The Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich invites applications for a
PhD position on modelling the fracturing of calving glaciers
The objective of this doctoral thesis will be to develop a new numerical model, which is capable to reproduce dynamically all the fracturing stages (initiation, propagation and collapsing) of large individual crevasses near the calving front of tidewater glaciers before they collapse and induce a calving event (release of icebergs into the ocean/lake). Iceberg calving is responsible for approximately half of the ice ablation of the Greenland ice sheet and our prediction of future sea-level rise critically depends on our ability to model calving. Classical finite element methods (FEM) are not well designed to represent discontinuous stress fields near the tip of crevasses. The Ph.D. student will address this issue by programming an ad-hoc FEM.The new model is expected to contribute to better understand iceberg calving and, in particular, to better parametrize the size factor of calving laws of ice sheet models. The model will be validated with ice flow fields inferred by UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) photogrammetry and feature-tracking techniques. To collect field data, the Ph.D. candidate might participate to one summer fieldwork campaign in Northwest Greenland. The PhD student will be supervised by Dr. Guillaume Jouvet and Prof. Martin Funk.
The candidate requires a master degree either in applied mathematics, mechanics, physics or a related field, and should have a strong background in numerical methods, a keen interest in modelling of geophysical processes and experience in scientific programming languages. Previous experience with UAVs would be an asset. Good writing and communication skills as well as the motivation to fruitfully collaborate within an interdisciplinary framework are essential. Salary is according to ETH guidelines, with funding for 3 years guaranteed.