Antarctic sea ice thickness

Host Faculty: Science
General Subject Area: Earth Sciences
Project Level: PhD
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Penguin in snow

We are looking for a student to undertake doctoral research in sea ice remote sensing. 

This PhD is part of a project funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand (Marsden Fund). The candidate will work in a multi-disciplinary team which will deploy new remote sensing strategies to build knowledge of the volume of coastal Antarctic sea ice, and its role in the observed sea ice trend. They will contribute to the development of a tailored satellite-derived ice thickness product for observational datasets as input for computer simulations. Satellite data analysis will focus on synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and laser/radar altimetry, products of which will be combined with airborne measurements. The latter will be acquired with support of Antarctica New Zealand and the Australian Antarctic Division.

The successful candidate will join the glaciology and remote sensing lab in Gateway Antarctica, the Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research in the School for Earth and Environment - University of Canterbury, and will be supervised by Prof. Wolfgang Rack and Dr. Daniel Price. We are based in Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the five Gateway cities to the Antarctic. It is expected that the successful candidate will take part in fieldwork to the Antarctic if the opportunity arises. This PhD is part of an international collaboration with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI, Germany), NASA, and Lincoln Agritech (NZ).


Supervisors: Wolfgang Rack, Daniel Price

Key qualifications and skills

The successful candidate will undertake research on (1) snow radar and electromagnetic induction data from airborne surveys over Antarctic sea ice (2) be involved in satellite analysis of sea ice thickness and spatial temporal matching of airborne surveys to high resolution satellite imagery. The ideal candidate will have

  • a relevant Bachelors degree with honours or research-based Master’s degree (or equivalent) in the field of earth sciences, e.g. in glaciology and geophysics or a related field, and excellent coursework and thesis grades
  • Strong skills in digital data and satellite image analysis
  • Appropriate programming language skills such as python
  • Excellent spoken and written English
  • be either a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or holder of a valid visa to study in New Zealand.

Final date for receiving applications: 31st March 2023

Applications (cover letter and CV) and informal inquiries can be sent to Prof. Wolfgang Rack and Dr Daniel Price

Does the project come with funding

Yes - NZ $35K plus student fees per annum

Final date for receiving applications

31st March 2023


Antarctica; sea ice; sea ice thickness; satellite remote sensing; airborne geophysics;