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James O'Neill

James O'Neill

PhD student


Jamie O'Neill is a PhD student in the Department of Geography. His research investigates the Antarctic ice sheet contribution to sea-level in a warmer-than modern climate.


Thesis title: 'Sea level rise under climate change: modelling the Pliocene warm period for improved projections of the future'

Sea level change (SLC) is one of the most significant hazards associated with climate change. The largest and most uncertain contribution to SLC in the coming centuries is melting from the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS). To characterise this uncertainty requires robust probabilistic simulations of the AIS under climate change.

Jamie's research uses numerical ice sheet modelling (BISICLES) and statistical modelling (Gaussian Process Emulation (GPE)) to project AIS mass loss under warmer than modern climates. He is using an ‘ensemble’ approach to sample uncertainty in factors governing AIS dynamics and generate probabilistic projections of its contribution to SLC.

To evaluate the success of BISICLES under warm climate conditions, the ice sheet will be simulated for a past period with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations similar to present (~350-400 ppm) but higher global mean temperatures (~3-4 degrees C above pre-industrial) and much higher sea levels (10-30m above modern): the mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP), around 3Ma. These will be compared with reconstructions of palaeo-sea level, to identify which model configurations simulate the AIS in agreement with the geological record.

PhD supervision

Further details

See Jaime's research profile