Dr Jason Roberts: BE (Hons), PhD

Research interests

I am a mechanical engineer by training, receiving my PhD from the University of Tasmania in 1998, specialising in numerical and experimental fluid dynamics. Since then I have worked as a numerical oceanography and a climate system modeller. In 2007 I ventured into glaciology, first as an ice sheet modeller before turning to ice core research.

My research uses ice core climate records to study and reconstruct both Antarctic and Australian climate. The annual amount of snowfall and the concentration of impurities (such as sea-salts) contained within the ice have been used to reconstruct snowfall across all of Antarctica, rainfall in both South West Western Australia and Eastern Australia and large scale climate modes such as the Interdecadial Pacific Oscillation.

In addition to my ice core work, I am the Australian lead for a large international collaboration (ICECAP – International Collaborative Exploration of the Cryosphere through Airborne Profiling) to survey the East Antarctic icesheet, to obtain critical information used by numerical icesheet models to predict the evolution of the Antarctic icesheet. Key properties measured are the thickness of the icesheet, the depth of the underlying bedrock and the presence of any liquid water at the base which may lubricate the movement of the ice over the underlying bedrock.

I have spent several summers in Antarctic, both in remote field camps drilling ice cores at Aurora Basin North, Mount Brown South and Law Dome, and station based for the ICECAP aircraft surveys of the East Antarctic icesheet.

Current projects

  • ICECAP – EAGLE (AAS 4511) Chief-investigator
  • East Antarctic Synthesis of Ice cores (EASI) - Ice core records of continental, hemispheric and global variability and change (AAS 4537) Co-investigator
  • State Estimate of East Antarctic Ice Shelves (AAS 4574) Co-investigator
  • IPICS 2k ice core array: Filling the climatological gap of the Indian Ocean sector from Wilhelm II Land (AAS 4414) Co-investigator

International/national collaborations

  • Monash University
  • Scripps Polar Center
  • University of Tasmania, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies
  • University of Texas

Key outcome areas

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC
  • International Partnership in Ice Core Sciences IPICS

Related links

Selected publications

Fretwell, P., Pritchard, H. D., Vaughan, D. G., Bamber, J. L., Barrand, N. E., Bell, R., Bianchi, C., Bingham, R. G., Blankenship, D. D., Casassa, G., Catania, G., Callens, D., Conway, H., Cook, A. J., Corr, H. F. J., Damaske, D., Damm, V., Ferraccioli, F., Forsberg, R., Fujita, S., Gim, Y., Gogineni, P., Griggs, J. A., Hindmarsh, R. C. A., Holmlund, P., Holt, J. W., Jacobel, R. W., Jenkins, A., Jokat, W., Jordan, T., King, E. C., Kohler, J., Krabill, W., Riger-Kusk, M., Langley, K. A., Leitchenkov, G., Leuschen, C., Luyendyk, B. P., Matsuoka, K., Mouginot, J., Nitsche, F. O., Nogi, Y., Nost, O. A., Popov, S. V., Rignot, E., Rippin, D. M., Rivera, A., Roberts, J., Ross, N., Siegert, M. J., Smith, A. M., Steinhage, D., Studinger, M., Sun, B., Tinto, B. K., Welch, B. C., Wilson, D., Young, D. A., Xiangbin, C., Zirizzotti, A. (2013): Bedmap2: Improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica, The Cryosphere, 7(1), DOI: 10.5194/tc-7-375-2013

Young, D.A., Wright, A.P., Roberts, J.L., Warner, R.C., Young, N.W., Greenbaum, J.S., Schroeder, D.M., Holt, J.W., Sugden, D.E., Blankenship, D.D., Van Ommen, T.D., Siegert, M.J. (2011): A dynamic early East Antarctic Ice Sheet suggested by ice-covered fjord landscapes, Nature, 474 (7349), DOI: 10.1038/nature10114

Greenbaum, J.S., Blankenship, D.D., Young D.A., Richter, T.G., Roberts, J.L., Aitken, A.R.A., Legresy, B., Schroeder, D.M., Warner, R.C., van Ommen, T.D., Siegert, M.J. (2015): Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier, East Antarctica, Nature Geoscience, 8(4), DOI:10.1038/ngeo2388

Aitken, A.R.A., Roberts, J.L., van Ommen, T, Young, D.A., Golledge, N.R., Greenbaum, J.S., Blankenship, D.D., Siegert, M.J. (2016): East Antarctic Ice-sheet bed erosion indicates repeated large-scale retreat and advance events, Nature, 533, DOI: 10.1038/nature17447

Morlighem, M., Rignot, E., Binder, T., Blankenship, D., Drews, R., Eagles, G., Eisen, O., Ferraccioli, F., Frosberg, R., Fretwell, P., Goel, V., Greenbaum, J., Gudmundsson, H., Guo, J., Helm, V., Hofstede, C., Howart, I., Humbert, A., Jokat, W., Karlsson, N., Lee, W., Matsuoka, K., Millan, R., Mouginot, J., Paden, J., Pattyn, F., Roberts, J., Roiser, S., Ruppel, A., Seroussi, H., Smith, E., Steinhage, D., Sun, B., Broeke, M., van Ommen, T., Wessem, M. and Young, D. (2019) Deep glacial troughs and stablizing ridges unveiled beneath the margins of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038/s41561-019-0510-8

Roberts, J., Plummer, C., Vance, T., van Ommen, T., Moy, A., Poynter, S, Treverrow, A., Curran, M., George, S. (2015): A 2000-year annual record of snow accumulation rates for Law Dome, East Antarctica, Climate of the Past, 11(5), DOI:10.5195/cp-11-697-2015

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