Project Description

A full project description can be found on Find a PhD. Please see below for additional information about this project:

The long-term discharge and mass balance of glaciers in a catchment are critical information required to fully understand the implications of changing climate in this climate-sensitive region. We will be using an already existing glacio-hydrological model [2] and modify it to use spatially continuous land surface temperature instead of air temperature and subsequently calibrate and validate the model outputs against the field data. The primary hydrological inputs, which are ice melt, snowmelt and rainfall, will be determined separately to the total discharge in the basin, and therefore the proportion of the contribution of these entities can be estimated. The model will take inputs from downscaled and bias-corrected climate data from a reanalysis data for long-term outputs. Other inputs like glacier and land use/land cover will be mapped to provide the initial boundary conditions for the model. The project will involve two field campaigns during the first and second years of the project. The main objective of the fieldwork will be to ground-truth the remote sensing data and to calibrate the existing snow and ice melt factors.

The model will initially be set up for, and applied to, the Baspa basin, which is located in Western Himalaya, and where some of the supervisors have already productively worked in the past. The data generated during this previous research provides a baseline and starting point for this project. The QUB supervisor is an expert in the downscaling and bias correction of the climate data.

Photo by Shaktiman Singh


Primary Supervisor:

Dr. Shaktiman Singh, School of Geology at the University of Aberdeen
Lab website

Donal Mullan

Secondary Supervisor:

Profile: Donal Mullan
Institution: Queen's University, Belfast
Department/School: School of Natural and Built Environment

Lydia Sam

Additional Supervisor:

Profile: Lydia Sam
Institution: University of Aberdeen
Department/School: School of Geosciences

Additional Supervisor:

Dr Anshuman Bhardwaj, Senior Lecturer, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen

Prof. Brice Rea, Personal Chair, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen

Prof. Matteo Spagnolo, Personal Chair, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen

Proposed Timetable

1st year
Reviewing the literature; collating available data; remote sensing mapping of recent and historical imagery; conducting fieldwork in summer 2022

2nd year
Analysing the field data; identify the relevant reanalysis regional climate data; downscaling the climate data; conducting fieldwork in summer 2023, setting up the model

3rd year
Analysing the field data; calibrating and validating the model; applying the model in the study area and other similar catchments in Himalaya; creating a Python module of the model

Last 6 months
Writing up papers and thesis


  • earth-systems

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