Apply to participate and collaborate in the Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to 2⁰ Celsius (SWAIS-2C) project in Otago, New Zealand

1-month onshore analysis of retrieved core materials following the summer 2022/3 drilling phase


The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) presently holds enough ice to raise global sea level by 4.3 meters if completely melted.The unknown response of the WAIS to future warming remains a significant challenge for numerical models in quantifying predictions of future sea level rise. Sea level rise is one of the clearest planet-wide signals of human-induced climate change. The Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a Warming of 2°C (SWAIS 2C) Project aims to understand past and current drivers and thresholds of WAIS dynamics to improve projections of the rate and size of ice sheet changes under a range of elevated greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere as well as the associated average global temperature scenarios to and beyond the +2°C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

SWAIS research objectives:

  1. Understanding grounding line dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), and the role of crustal dynamics in ice sheet grounding zone position.
  2. Determining how much the WAIS contributed to sea level rise during past, under a range of elevated greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and associated average global temperature scenarios to and beyond the 2°C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  3. Investigate the sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to long term changes in atmospheric CO2 and tectonics, including potential thresholds in the climate system at atmospheric CO2 concentrations >400 ppm that may cause irreversible retreat of marine based ice sheets.
  4. Examine the composition and activity of both living and inactive microbial populations in sediments beneath the Ross Ice Shelf near the grounding zone of the WAIS to understand element cycling in this underexplored region.

Who should apply?

We are currently seeking three Australian representatives to participate with research expertise in physical properties, paleomagnetism, and biostratigraphy/micropaleontology (i.e., siliceous microfossils, benthic foraminifera, and palynology).

We encourage applications from all qualified scientists (including graduate students).

We are also welcoming expressions of interest (EOI) of Australian representatives who might be interested in deploying moorings below the ice shelf at the drill site, to improve our understanding of ocean cavity processes and ocean ice interactions. These EOI who wish to deploy moorings below the sea ice do not need to apply but should send an email to

ANZIC is committed to a policy of broad participation and inclusion, and to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all program participants. Good working knowledge of the English language is required.

Applications will be assessed and selected by a joint committee comprising ANZIC Science Committee and AuScope representatives. Successful applicants will be awarded with:

  1. Science party support to travel to New Zealand for one month
  2. $15K in funding to analyses their samples

PLEASE NOTE to APPLY your institution must

  • Approve your travel to and from Otago, New Zealand
  • Provide Travel insurance.
  • agree to cover any additional cost related to delays to a return and/or additional quarantine costs.


Project timeline

The SWAIS-2C project will deploy new, low-cost drilling technology to retrieve cores from previously inaccessible sedimentary deposits beneath ice shelves and sea ice. Due to challenges with the drill site location, the cores will be transported to Otago, New Zealand, where they will be described and sampled. You will be expected to participate in all pre- and post-sampling science team commitments associated with the summer 2022/3 drilling phase.

Land-2-Sea Geoscience

The ANZIC secretariat based at ANU has partnered with AuScope to pilot Australia’s scientific participation in an International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) project, SWAIS-2C and test the feasibility and value of ICDP membership to Australia. Australia’s participation with SWAIS-2C is thanks to AuScope’s Land-2-Sea Geoscience collaboration, which is driving innovation across the gap between marine and continental geoscience research through a focus on transects from ocean basins onto the continents.

For more information, see This site includes links to individual expedition web pages with the original IODP proposals and expedition planning information.

Media coverage of SWAIS-2C project