“PhD studentship between Aberystwyth University and RIL announced

July 23, 2019

A new KESS II PhD studentship has been announced between Aberystwyth University, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, and Reynolds International Ltd (RIL) on ‘The role of glacier structures in the degradation of Himalayan debris-covered glaciers for glacial hazard assessment’.


In common with mountain glaciers elsewhere in the world, Himalayan glaciers are responding to climate change by receding and thinning. This is especially pronounced in their terminal zones and in recent years many Himalayan glaciers have developed long debris-covered tongues and associated supraglacial ponds and, in extreme cases, stranded masses of stagnant debris-covered ice. In situations where the glaciers have receded from large terminal and lateral moraines formed at the ‘Little Ice Age’, proglacial lakes have subsequently formed between the moraines and the contemporary glacier. If these moraine-dammed lakes drain rapidly, for example due to moraine degradation, or moraine-dam failure caused by external trigger events such as glacier calving or ice and rock avalanches, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) can affect downstream communities and infrastructure catastrophically. The motivation for this study is to understand recent changes in these Himalayan glaciers – in particular how relict glacier structures influence the degradation of stagnating debris-covered ice masses and how these structures may then influence the morphological response, thermokarst processes,  and integrity of moraine dams in response to changing climate.  Example Himalayan glacial lake systems include Tsho Rolpa/Trakarding Glacier, Rolwaling, Imja Tsho/Glacier, Solukhumbu, and Thulagi Tsho, Marsyangdi, Nepal; and Cirenmacao Tsho, Poiqu, Tibet (ARC).  These structural glaciological assessments will form part of a wider study of Himalayan glacial geomorphology and glacier hazard assessment.


This project meets the needs of the company partner (Reynolds International Ltd, Mold) with whom the PhD student will spend some time, because it will strengthen their position as the world leader in glacier hazard assessment and mitigation. The company competes globally for work concerning individual site hazard assessment and mitigation, as well as regional assessments of water supply, hydropower and dams and associated socio-economic impacts. This project will specifically help to increase their capability in the area of glacial hazard assessment and site appraisal.


To apply, please follow the instructions on the link below and submit the requested information to Aberystwyth University Postgraduate Admissions Office by Monday 5th August 2019.


KESS II application forms and full details of the project are available to download at the link below:



Applications must be made through Aberystwyth University only and not through RIL.”