I currently don’t have any opened positions. However, do not hesitate to contact me spontanously if you are interested in doing a PhD or Postdoc in glacier modelling.
If you are interested doing an intern, a bachelor, or a Master project, check at following list of topics. The rerequisites to carry out these projects are : a keen interest at understanding main glacier processes, a few basics in python programming (or the willness to learn), a keen interest at reproducing glacier advance/retreat using numerical modeling, and to adjust the simulation to data, being able to seek for open data (e.g., topographical, climatic), and transform these data in proper format.
Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the European Alps. It consists of 3 large accumulation basins merging into a long and curved tongue. Modelling the evolution of the glacier in the past is crucial to validate prognostic models. While historical stages of the glacier have been well-documented since a few centuries, the lack of data on former fluxes (the dynamic and the precipitation prevailing in the past) is key source of model uncertainty. The goal of this work is precisely to tackle this issue by embedding new radionuclide data in an existing glacier model. These data permit to track the trajectory of ice particles that have been deposited on the glacier surface between the early 50’s and 60’s (i.e. ice that have been contaminated with Pu-239 due to fallout from nuclear weapon tests performed during the cold war.) These tracers contain therefore valuable integrated-over-time information about the ice fluxes back to the 50s, and have not been integrated to Aletsch Glacier model to date. The task of the student will be to model the Aletsch Glacier with IGM – the Instructed Glacier Model – which combine the interaction between mass balance and ice flow. The student will use IGM to reconstruct the former ice dynamics and precipitation that best reproduce the tracing of ice revealed by the radionuclide data. Last, this new model will permit to derive a calibrated map of the age of ice over the entire surface of Aletsch Glacier.
Glacial records on the Jura mountain suggest that it has not been covered by ice from the Valais Glacier, but instead has hosted its own ice cap near the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, about 24’000 years ago). This hypothesis was supported from boulder deposition elevation along the Jura by. Unfortunately, not always such an independent Jura ice cap was modelled in any recent modelling works. The goal of this work is to reconstruct the Jura ice cap at the LGM with IGM – the Instructed Glacier Model – which combines the interaction between mass balance and ice flow. The student will use IGM to reconstruct the former ice dynamics and precipitation that best reproduce the glacial footprints left by the glaciers. This will give new insights of the local climate that has prevailed over the Jura at LGM.
Aletsch Glacier is the greatest glacier of the European Alps. While its retreat since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA) is well-documented, its dynamical evolution prior the LIA remains uncertain, especially, the question whether Alestch glacier have been smaller than it is today remains open. The goal of this thesis is to reconstruct the evolution of Aletsch Glacier during the last 2000 years with IGM – the Instructed Glacier Model – which combines the interaction between mass balance and ice flow. The student will use IGM to reconstruct the former ice dynamics and precipitation that best reproduce the presumable former state documented by Holzhauser and al. (2005). For a Master project, the study would be extended to explore the entire Holocene period based on local climate proxies.
During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, about 21,000 years BP) most of the Alps and wide parts of the alpine forelands were covered with ice (Bini et al., 2009). Today, only geomorphological evidence left on the landscape (such as erratic boulders and moraines) witness how the ice flowed from the highest areas to the flatlands. The former extent of glaciers in the Alps has been intensively investigated for nearly 200 years, especially in the Western Alps thanks to the involvement of prominent geologists such as Louis Agassiz. More recently, the state of our knowledge has been completed from different methods and disciplines i) dating techniques such as the surface exposure dating of erratic boulders (Ivy-Ochs et al., 2008) permits to give chronological constraints ii) glacier modelling permits to simulate former ice flow an glacial extent by computer simulations (Seguinot et al., 2018) iii) proxy data – e.g. inferred from speleothems (Luetscher et al., 2015) – permits to give paleo climate information, which in turn provide hints on glacier former extents. The goal of this work is to review interdisciplinary literature that contributed to our current understanding of the extent, dynamics, and timing of glaciers in the Western Alps during the last glacial cycle. The topic will be tackled from three different perspectives: the knowledge inferred from geomorphological evidences (Kelly et al., 2004; Ivy-Ochs et al., 2008), from glacier modelling (Seguinot et al., 2018), and from climate proxy data (Luetscher et al., 2015). The student will be asked to do a synthesis, to assess the reliability and limitations of each approach, to critically evaluate and discuss the findings from the different methods, and to identify key open questions.