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Ocean Forcing of Ice-Sheet Change (OFIC)

Start date
1 January, 2017
End date
30 April, 2024

National capability science

Our ambition for this project is to use our long-term in situ measurement of ocean-heat delivery to understand the major drivers of ice-loss in some of the most rapidly-retreating parts of the Antarctic ice sheet.   The outcome from this research will inform projections for future ice-sheet stability and global sea-level projections.

Sustained observations contribute to international research efforts

Our aims is to understand how ocean heat influences changes to Antarctic ice, and to reduce uncertainty in scientific predictions for a future world and to provide Government with scientific assessment of how these issues will affect the everyday lives of people in decades to come.  This project is key component of a major UK/US collaboration that will take place over the next 5-years.

We use oceanographic moorings and bespoke radar systems to create a unique dataset that records the major driver of Antarctic ice-loss.

We aim to use our unique capability in polar ocean research research areas and our ability to lead interdisciplinary teams to work across the boundaries of glaciology, oceanography and climate science. Our particular focus areas are:

  • The role of the ocean in melting the polar ice caps. To measure, simulate and understand the global implications of the polar changes and the influencing of ice shelves and ice sheet stability.
  • The vigorous-overturning in the regions of  water mass renewal close to Antarctica and in the Arctic. To improve knowledge of the role played by the polar oceans in exchanging heat and carbon with the atmosphere, in storing them in the ocean interior, and the impacts that these processes have on the climatic evolution of the planet
  • Reduce uncertainty concerning the future trends in climate and sea level. To conduct specific process models and regional ocean model experiments, and work with partners to simulate and understand the global implications of the polar changes
A man wearing glasses posing for the camera.

Paul Holland

Ocean/Ice Scientist IMP 3

Polar Oceans team

RRS Sir David Attenborough

The RRS Sir David Attenborough, commissioned by NERC, built by Cammell Laird for operation by British Antarctic Survey, is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world.