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# Rising Tides bring innovation prize

Rising Tides bring innovation prize

Victoria Herrmann, a PhD student at the Scott Polar Research Institute and a Gates Cambridge Scholar, has won a prestigious US social entrepreneurship prize for a research project on US towns and cities at risk of partial submersion due to climate change.

Victoria's was one of 10 projects to scoop the JM Kaplan Fund Innovation Prize.

Her winning Rising Tides project will create a new online matchmaking platform that connects pro bono experts with climate-affected communities. Whether taking on archaeological work in Alaskan villages or oral histories in Mississippi's historic black communities, the project will seek to safeguard heritage by connecting national expertise to some of the 13 million Americans who stand to be displaced due to rising waters in the coming years. It will initially focus on bringing technical assistance directly to small and medium-sized towns that are geographically remote and socioeconomically vulnerable. By connecting communities with volunteer professionals looking to donate skills - from a one-hour consultation to a fully fledged cultural resources management plan - the project seeks to build social cohesion, preserve historic sites and empower local traditions to withstand climate threats.

It is thought that by the end of this century, at least 414 towns and cities across America will be partially underwater from sea-level rise and accelerating extreme storms. The Rising Tides project will draw on Victoria's experience of working with community champions from Alaska to American Samoa through her America's Eroding Edges project, a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund has provided catalytic funding for projects in their early stages of development in the form of grants. The Prize leverages this legacy of catalytic grant-making in the field of social innovation.

In addition to cash support of $150,000, paid out over three years, plus a $25,000 bank of funds for project expense, the Prize includes capacity-building counsel from experts in organisational development, board cultivation, media coaching and leadership training. The three areas considered for the US prize are the environment, heritage conservation and social justice.

The Fund says: "The J.M.K. Innovation Prize is awarded to projects or ideas that represent a game-changing answer to a clearly identified need; are innovative within the Fund's three funding areas; demonstrate the potential to develop an actionable pilot or prototype with Prize funding; and hold out the promise to benefit multiple individuals, communities, or sectors through a clearly articulated theory of change."

Earlier this year Victoria [2014], who won the 2017 Bill Gates Sr Award and is currently completing her PhD in Polar Studies, was named on this year's Forbes 30under30 list for Law & Policy.

This news article first appeared on the Gates Cambridge website.

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# New paper on inland advance of supraglacial lakes in Greenland under climatic warming

New paper on inland advance of supraglacial lakes in Greenland under climatic warming

A new article by recently graduated undergraduate student Laura Gledhill (Downing College) and Scott Polar Research Institute PhD student Andrew Williamson explores the inland advance of supraglacial lakes in a north-western sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet under recent climatic warming. The paper, published recently in the Annals of Glaciology, is based on Laura's undergraduate dissertation, which Andrew supervised. Many congratulations to them both!

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# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD opportunities

Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD opportunities

The list of PhD topics we would like to pursue with interested students has just been launched. The link gives further details. The funding deadline is 4th January 2018, for an October 2018 start. Do get in touch with a prospective supervisor who will help with your application as soon as possible.

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# Department of Geography Postgraduate open day 3rd November

Students and staff will be available to talk about life as a Graduate in the Department of Geography and ongoing Human and Physical Geography study and research. Venue: The Library - Department of Geography, Downing Place, CB2 3EN, 2-4pm

The Scott Polar Research Institute will be open for visits. MPhil and PhD students will be available to talk about life in the department and SPRI Course Director will be available to chat to potential students. Venue: Main Reception, Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, CB2 1ER 2-4pm

There will also be a Geography Admissions Talk at 3pm, 3 November, Seminar Room, Department of Geography, CB2 3EN. Speakers will be Dr Emma Mawdsley "Moving on to an MPhil and PhD" and Professor Christine Lane – "Talking and answering questions on Physical Geography Research at Cambridge."

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# New paper in Nature - Seafloor ploughmarks left by icebergs record rapid West Antarctic ice retreat

New paper in Nature - Seafloor ploughmarks left by icebergs record rapid West Antarctic ice retreat

Thousands of ploughmarks on the Antarctic seafloor, caused by icebergs which broke free from glaciers more than ten thousand years ago, show how part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated rapidly at the end of the last ice age as its margins balanced precariously on sloping ground and became unstable. Today, as the global climate continues to warm, rapid and sustained retreat may be close to happening again, and could trigger runaway ice retreat into the interior of the continent, which in turn would cause sea levels to rise even faster than currently projected.

Matt Wise and Julian Dowdeswell from SPRI, together with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Stockholm University investigated imagery of the seafloor of Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. They found that, as seas warmed at the end of the last ice age, Pine Island Glacier retreated to a point where its grounding line – the points where it enters the ocean and starts to float – was perched precariously at the end of a seaward-shallowing submarine slope. It has long been thought that glaciers in this configuration are unstable.

Break up of a floating 'ice shelf' in front of the glacier left tall ice 'cliffs' at its edge. The height of these cliffs made them unstable, triggering the release of thousands of icebergs into Pine Island Bay, and causing the glacier to retreat rapidly until its grounding line reached a restabilising point in shallower water.

Today, as warming waters caused by climate change flow underneath the floating ice shelves in Pine Island Bay, the Antarctic Ice Sheet is once again at risk of losing mass from rapidly retreating glaciers. Significantly, if ice retreat is triggered, there are no relatively shallow points in the ice sheet bed along the course of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers to prevent possible runaway ice retreat into the interior of West Antarctica. The results are published in the journal Nature.

"Today, the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are grounded in a very precarious position, and major retreat may already be happening, caused primarily by warm waters melting from below the ice shelves that jut out from each glacier into the sea," said Matt Wise of Cambridge's Scott Polar Research Institute, and the study's first author. "If we remove these buttressing ice shelves, unstable ice thicknesses would cause the grounded West Antarctic Ice Sheet to retreat rapidly again in the future. Since there are no potential restabilising points further upstream to stop any retreat from extending deep into the West Antarctic hinterland, this could cause sea-levels to rise faster than previously projected."

Pine Island Glacier and the neighbouring Thwaites Glacier are responsible for nearly a third of total ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and this contribution has increased greatly over the past 25 years. In addition to basal melt, the two glaciers also lose ice by breaking off, or calving, icebergs into Pine Island Bay.

Today, the icebergs that break off from Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are mostly large table-like blocks, which cause characteristic 'comb-like' ploughmarks as these large multi-keeled icebergs grind along the sea floor. By contrast, during the last ice age, hundreds of comparatively smaller icebergs broke free of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and drifted into Pine Island Bay. These smaller icebergs had a v-shaped structure like the keel of a ship, and left long and deep single scars in the sea floor.

High-resolution imaging techniques, used to investigate the shape and distribution of ploughmarks on the sea floor in Pine Island Bay, allowed the researchers to determine the relative size and drift direction of icebergs in the past. Their analysis showed that these smaller icebergs were released due to a process called marine ice-cliff instability (MICI). More than 12,000 years ago, Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers were grounded on top of a large wedge of sediment, and were buttressed by a floating ice shelf, making them relatively stable even though they rested below sea level.

Eventually, the floating ice shelf in front of the glaciers 'broke up', which caused them to retreat onto land sloping downward from the grounding lines to the interior of the ice sheet. This exposed tall ice 'cliffs' at their margin with an unstable height, and resulted in rapid retreat of the glaciers from marine ice cliff instability between 12,000 and 11,000 years ago. This occurred under climate conditions that were relatively similar to those of today.

Today, the two glaciers are getting ever closer to the point where they may become unstable, resulting once again in rapid ice retreat.

The research has been funded in part by the UK Natural Environment and Research Council (NERC).

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# New exhibit explores recent Greenland fieldwork

New exhibit explores recent Greenland fieldwork

The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Institute is currently hosting a temporary exhibition 'Uummannaq: 100 years of exploration in Greenland' featuring fieldwork undertaken by Geography researchers over the summer. Led by Dr Poul Christoffersen the exhibition includes research undertaken by PhD students Samuel Cook and Tom Chudley.

Samuel used a terrestrial radar interferometer to produce a unique record of iceberg calving from which he can calibrate a numerical model. While Tom used an Unmanned Aircraft System ('drone') to produce imagery of the calving ice front and the glacier in ultra high spatial resolution.

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# Win for Trial of the Century

Win for Trial of the Century

'Trial of the Century', the theatre production which included PhD student Ragnhild Dale as assistant director and researcher, and which was closely linked to her doctoral research, has won the Norwegian Critics Association Theatre Award 2017. The jury praised it as 'one of the most important reference works in recent political Norwegian performing arts'.

The production, which took place in February, staged the upcoming court case over the 23rd licensing round for petroleum in the Norwegian Barents Sea. Ragnhild worked with director Morten Traavik of traavik.info and Pikene på Broen as co-producers.

# Women in Antarctica: the trouble with heroism

Women in Antarctica: the trouble with heroism

PhD student Morgan Seag writes for Chemistry World on the history of women in Antarctica, and the 'trouble with heroism' as a myth surrounding antarctic study which excluded women until the 1960s and 70s.

Article may be behind paywall.

# Performance of the year nomination for Trial of the Century

Performance of the year nomination for Trial of the Century

The Norwegian Critics Association has announced that Trial of the Century has been nominated for its 2017 annual Critics Prize. The production, which took place in February, staged the upcoming court case over the 23rd licensing round for petroleum in the Norwegian Barents Sea. PhD student Ragnhild Dale served as assistant director and researcher for the production, which was closely linked to her doctoral research. Ragnhild worked with director Morten Traavik of traavik.info and Pikene på Broen as co-producers.

Congratulations to all on this prestigious nomination!

# SPRI Library catalogue search now online

SPRI Library catalogue search now online

We are proud to announce that the Library catalogue of the Scott Polar Research Institute is now available to be searched online. This has been the culmination of many years of data improvements and technical conversion work. The collection will also be added to the main University Library catalogue in 2018.

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