Research Fellows Directory
Professor Tavi Murray
The mass balance of the major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica is controlled primarily by mass loss by iceberg calving from fast flowing glaciers and ice streams which terminate in ocean water. Despite considerable recent progress, calving processes are not incorporated into ice sheet models or predictions of future sea-level rise: this is largely because of the lack of understanding of the physical controls. My group has led progress in two key aspects. First, we developed a 2-D finite-element model of calving at a grounded-ice interface, which albeit limited in certain aspects, is world-leading. Second, we have developed new observationally-based understanding of the physics involved during iceberg calving.
My long-term research aims are two-fold. The first relate to understanding the physics of calving processes. Full understanding will allow proper parameterization of the processes within predictive models of future sea-level that include ocean-ice interactions. This progress will require cross-disciplinary knowledge of glaciology and oceanography. It is this knowledge overlap, and these processes, that I intend to address during the term of this fellowship. The second set of aims relate to understanding the fast-flowing ice streams of Antarctica. These ice streams are the ice sheet’s volume regulators and 90% of the ice is discharged by them to the floating ice shelves. I will return to West Antarctica for austral summer 2016-17 to drill 2.2km through Rutford Ice Stream and instrument its bed in a project which began with support from the Leverhulme Trust and NERC in 2004.