The Ice is Getting Thinner: Samantha Buzzard joins Real Scientists

Version 2We are thrilled to welcome our next curator, PhD researcher from the University of Reading, Samantha Buzzard (@treacherousbuzz). Sammie is studying the role of surface melt in the break up of Antarctic ice sheets. The research is based on computer modelling, so she doesn’t have to brave the cold, but has been lucky enough to visit the Arctic and an Icelandic glacier. We’ll allow Sammie to introduce herself:

How did you end up in science?

I’ve always liked problem solving and did a maths undergraduate degree but I realised during it that I liked applying maths to real problems, which is how I ended up looking at the maths of ice shelves.

Why did you choose your current field?

The polar regions are some of the areas most affected by climate change so they’re a really important area to study. There’s still so much to learn about them, and how can such beautiful areas not be interesting to study?

Tell us about your work

I’m creating a computer simulation (or model) looking at the formation of lakes on Antarctic ice shelves through melting on their surface. These lakes are though to be involved in the sudden collapse of ice shelves such as the Larsen B Ice Shelf which in 2002 lost an area of ice about twice the size of Greater London (or the size of Rhode Island).

Why should the lay public care about your research?

Ice shelf collapse not only means habitat loss, changes in the ocean and potential shipping hazards, it also contributes to sea level rise through the speeding up of glaciers that used to flow onto the ice shelves.

Do you have any interesting extracurricular obligations?

I’m currently co-president of the UK Polar Network, a group of early career polar scientists. We currently have over 400 members, from aspiring undergraduates to Masters and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and recent faculty appointees. As a voluntary group we organise career development events for early career scientists in addition to running education and outreach activities to enthuse and inspire young people about the polar regions. There are similar branches in many countries worldwide.

Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?

I’m currently training for the London Marathon so can’t promise a complete lack of running tweets…

What’s your ideal day Off?

Something nice and outdoors (not running, can’t wait to not be running for a while…) then baking something experimental, followed by either a night out with dancing to cheesy music, or maybe a board games evening in with a nice g&t, or two!

Please welcome Sammmie to Real Scientists!

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