Physical Oceanographer vacancy


The British Antarctic Survey is inviting applications for an observational physical oceanographer with a track record of interpreting and analysing observational polar oceanographic datasets. The successful candidate will use observational datasets and numerical model output to construct and test a dynamical framework explaining the circulation of the Weddell Gyre and its export of dense water to the global ocean.


This is a 36 month position for a suitably qualified postdoctoral researcher and will contribute to two projects funded by the European Commission H2020 programme and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): SO-CHIC (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate) and ORCHESTRA (Ocean regulation of climate by Heat and Carbon sequestration and Transports).

How to apply: Please visit: https://www.bas.ac.uk/jobs/vacancy/physical-oceanographer-2

The Southern Ocean in a changing climate: open-ocean physical and biogeochemical processes

The Southern Ocean in a changing climate: open-ocean physical and biogeochemical processes (OS1.12/BG4.13/CL4.28)

There will be a Southern Ocean session at the EGU General Assembly 2020 in Vienna (3–8 May 2020).

The Southern Ocean around the latitudes of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is a key region for the vertical and lateral exchanges of heat, carbon and nutrients, with significant impacts on the climate system as a whole. The role of the Southern Ocean as a sink of anthropogenic carbon and heat, and as a source of natural carbon in present and future climate conditions remains uncertain. To reduce this uncertainty, understanding the physical and biogeochemical processes underlying the Southern Ocean internal variability and its response to external forcing is critical. Recent advances in observational capabilities, theoretical frameworks, and numerical models (e.g. CMIP6 simulations) are providing a deeper insight into the three-dimensional patterns of Southern Ocean change. This session will discuss the current state of knowledge and novel findings concerning the role of the Southern Ocean in past, present, and future climates. In particular, it will address physical, biological, and biogeochemical processes, including interior ocean mixing and transport pathways, the cycling of carbon and nutrients, as well as ocean-ice-atmosphere interactions, and their wider implications for lower latitudes and the global climate.

Highlight: Solicited speaker Michael Meredith will report on the outcomes of the Polar Regions chapter of the recent “IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” during this session.

Abstarct submission: https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/session/36195 (deadline is 15 January 2020, 13:00 CET).

ECS travel support: https://egu2020.eu/about_and_support/roland_schlich_travel_support.html (deadline is 1 December 2019).

Blog: Homeward Bound – Last Leg of the ORCHESTRA Cruise

Carol Arrowsmith is a chief technician in the stable isotope facility at the BGS. She recently took part in an expedition to the Southern Ocean as part of  ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports), a NERC funded programme with partners at the British Antarctic Survey (lead), the National Oceanography CentrePlymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS. Here she updates us as she nears the end of her expedition on the RRS James Clark Ross… 16 May 2019.

Carol at Signy

We were at sea for around 8 weeks on the RRS James Clark Ross, undertaking the ANDREXII transect. We set off from the Punta Arenas, Chile, calling in at the Falklands before crossing the Drake Passage to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula at 60oS, and then out along over 3000 miles to the Indian Ocean at 30oE. 

Along this route we collected samples at 96 separate locations (stations), resulting in >1800 water samples for oxygen and carbon isotope analysis with help from my buddy, Margot Debyser from Edinburgh University and Ash Smith, the BAS Laboratory Manager. The samples will arrive back in the UK for analysis at the BGS in the summer for isotope analysis and will tell us about how much carbon the ocean has absorbed and how much fresh water has been added from melting of the ice caps. We also collected around 350 for radiocarbon C14 analysis which will be sent to the Woods Hole Institute, USA where we’ll be able to shed light on the age of the water. These samples form part of the 5 year ORCHESTRA research programme to try to understand the structure of the Southern Ocean and, more importantly, what changes are taking place within the ocean due to human impact.

After we finished the last sampling in the Indian Ocean our ship steamed back to the South Orkney Islands and Signy. There were plenty of seals (fur, leopard and crabeater) dotted about the ice, most of them were used to seeing ships and didn’t bother to move when they saw us coming! In particular, we got to see the British Antarctic Survey base, which is now evacuated for winter, and moved some cargo around the holds in readiness for the journey home. We then sailed down to the ice sheet forming around the Antarctic Peninsula, where we held the end of cruise dinner: a BBQ on the ship’s deck while it was snowing! 

King penguins.

The ship docked at Mare Harbour on the Falkland Islands, where we spent the day demobilizing, taking inventories of samples, packing up the equipment, and generally clearing up. We also had a flying visit to Volunteer Point to see King and Gentoo Penguins. The RRS James Clark Ross then left the Falklands for the first of 2 trips to Rothera Station to pick up scientists, crew, contractors and equipment to take them home.
Overall, it’s been a successful research cruise but I am glad to be back on land! I would like to thank PSO Andrew Meijers at BAS for his leadership and management. Also many thanks to the dedicated crew on board, engineers, deck crew and stewards who all played their part.

Group picture.

A new science leader for ORCHESTRA

Emily Shuckburgh

Sadly, we have said goodbye to ORCHESTRA’s lead scientist, Emily Shuckburgh. Emily has taken on a new role at the University of Cambridge. Emily said: “It has been a pleasure to lead ORCHESTRA over the last couple of years and to see the programme develop and the results start to roll in. I would like to thank all involved for their help and support and I wish Andrew and the rest of the ORCHESTRA team every success going forward. Although I am moving to a new role at Cambridge, I am very keen to continue to develop collaborations both with ORCHESTRA and RoSES”.

Taking over the reins from Emily, as of 1 April, is Andrew Meijers, who has been working on ORCHESTRA as Work Package 2 Leader since the project started.

Andrew Meijers

Andrew said “I’m very excited to be stepping up as the new leader of ORCHESTRA.  I have both Emily and Mike to thank for their terrific efforts up to this point; both in getting ORCHESTRA off the ground and developing it into a mature and effective multi-centre collaboration.  This is the point when the results of our several field seasons and extensive model development are just coming together, and the imminent scientific results promise to be very exciting.  I look forward to working with everyone over the next few years, as well as looking to the future for UK research in the Southern Ocean”.

We wish Emily the best of luck in her new venture and look forward to working with Andrew and continuing the great work on ORCHESTRA.

Research Fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling

Research Fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry: Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University of Leeds, UK

Full time – Fixed term to March 2021 – £33,199 to £39,609 p.a. Applications should be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on Sunday 31 March.

The UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) is hiring a research fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry, with a focus on investigating historical and ongoing changes in the Arctic and in Antarctica.

CPOM provides UK national capability in satellite observations and numerical models of the polar regions in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). We also work closely with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission on current and future satellite missions, providing scientific leadership for CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3, as well as many other national and international partners.  The CPOM Directorate is based in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, with staff distributed across the UK.

In this role, you will lead a programme of sea ice research, focusing on measuring and monitoring trends in its thickness and volume in both hemispheres. This will involve exploiting recent developments in satellite radar altimetry and using other Earth observation and climate data records.

You will also contribute to CPOM’s overall radar altimetry work programme, promoting the integration of sea ice altimetry with other research interests and themes, and working on methodological advances such as developing and evaluating estimates of snow loading.

Although based in Leeds, you will work with scientists across our partner universities, including CPOM’s sea ice modelling team at the University of Reading. In addition, you will liaise with our partners at ESA, BAS, NOC, the UK Met Office and other institutions as appropriate to contribute to CPOM’s scientific objectives.

As well as having (or being close to completing) a PhD in a relevant subject such as physics, mathematics, computer science or engineering, you will also have a strong publication track-record; experience of working with satellite radar altimetry and climate data; an enthusiasm for scientific research and problem-solving; excellent communication and interpersonal skills; and the ability to work as part of the wider CPOM team.


For more information, and to apply for this role, please visit the Leeds University jobs website.  Applications should be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on Sunday 31 March.