Physical Scientist, Polar Oceans Team – British Antarctic Survey


We are recruiting a Physical Scientist to join the Polar Oceans Team. This scientist will apply ocean modelling techniques to study the ocean processes driving sea-level rise from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, as part of a multi-institute, UK-wide research project.

Who are we?

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. The British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation

If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in amazing places then the British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for these jobs.

Full details of the role are below. Please note that we are currently advertising a similar position. You are welcome to apply for both posts, and will need to submit two separate applications. The interview process for both posts will be combined on the same day.


We seek a physical scientist, modelling ocean processes as part of a multi-institute project aiming to understand sea level rise from West Antarctica. The scientist will develop and apply ocean forward and adjoint models to the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. The scientist will use numerical experiments to understand the processes controlling ocean heat transport towards the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and examine the hypothesis that variations in wind forcing are crucial in determining ocean temperatures in this region.


First degree in physical science/mathematics plus PhD (or equivalent experience)


  • Develop and apply regional ocean—ice models of the Amundsen Sea with a hierarchy of grid resolutions, including both forward and adjoint models.
  • Apply a high-resolution model to understand ocean heat transport onto the Amundsen Sea shelf, validating the model against new ocean observations from this region acquired by others in the project. Quantify the controlling ocean processes and their wider linkages.
  • Use a coarser adjoint model to understand the wider climatic drivers of this heat transport. Formally identify the the most influential aspects of atmospheric climate, and test hypotheses about the drivers of historic and future change.
  • Perform forward modelling with a hierarchy of model resolutions in order to assess
    the ability of coarse climate models to represent the processes controlling heat transport. Compare these simulations to climate model output.
  • Present conclusions about ocean heat transport, its drivers, and how best to model it in the scientific literature and at international scientific conferences.

The above lists are not exhaustive and the job holder is required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post. All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and UKRI.

Please quote reference: BAS 21/33
Publication date: 15 January 2021
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 21 February 2021
Interviews are scheduled to be held: 4 March 2021

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job and will provide necessary adaptations for the interview. We are open to a range of flexible working options, including job sharing, to support childcare and other caring responsibilities.

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