Large parts of today's continental ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass. The sectors of these ice sheets that terminate in marine environments or rest on a bed below sea level are considered one of the largest sources of uncertainty with respect to how ice sheets respond to environmental change. Modern monitoring records are not long enough to establish a complete picture of the magnitudes and timescales of potential change, and the balance between atmospheric, marine and subglacial controls on the rates and stability of ice flow and retreat are poorly constrained. Instead, we can draw on geological records of past ice sheet behaviour to better understand present processes and predict future changes in these vulnerable sectors. The Baltic Sea catchment was a major marine-based drainage route of the last Fennoscandian ice sheet that left a rich - but untapped - geological record; its behaviour is virtually unknown.
This project will collect and analyse high-resolution geophysical data of the geomorphology, sediment distribution and sub-surface stratigraphy in the Baltic Sea, combined with core analyses of sediment physical properties and their chronology, in order to reconstruct the dynamics of ice sheet retreat through the Baltic basins. The student may choose to focus on questions such as the function of the subglacial meltwater system; the sensitivity of grounding line behaviour to meltwater drainage, sediment fluxes or iceberg calving; the role of substrate mechanical properties in driving or restraining ice flow; or iceberg scour marks as proxies for calving and palaeo- currents. With this framework the research will address local Baltic Sea palaeo-glaciology while addressing more fundamental questions regarding the behaviour of marine-based ice sheets.
The candidate will participate in annual ship-based fieldwork aboard the university's research vessel, will take primary responsibility for analysing geophysical and core data, and will have the opportunity to collaborate on modelling Baltic Sea ice sheet dynamics. S/he will join a group with a wide international network and a long history of glacial/ocean research in both the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as active research and teaching in the Baltic Sea, in-house at the Department of Geological Sciences and in conjunction with Stockholm University's Baltic Sea Centre.