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Dr. Paul Holland - Profile

photo of Dr. Paul Holland

+44 (0)1223 221444

British Antarctic Survey
Madingley Road, High Cross
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0ET United Kingdom


Research Interests

I am interested in any topic concerned with ice and/or oceans.  My publications to date focus on the following topics:

Ocean-ice shelf interaction
Sea ice
Polar oceanography
Ice-shelf glaciology
Buoyancy-driven flows
Lake dynamics


7/12 - Core Panel Member, NERC Peer Review College
8/10 - Ocean Modeller (band 5), British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
1/09 - 9/12 Associate Lecturer, Open University
6/05 - 8/10 Ice-Ocean Modeller (band 6), British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
2/03 - 6/05 Post-doctoral Researcher, CPOM, University College London
10/01-1/03 Ocean Model Development Scientist, Met Office, Bracknell
10/98-10/01 Ph.D., Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, Loughborough University
9/95 - 7/98 B.Sc. Mathematics with Environmental Science, University of East Anglia (1st Class)


2015-present   Jim Jordan (with Dan Goldberg [Edinburgh])
2014-present   Joakim Kjellsson (with Gareth Marshall and Yevgeny Aksenov [NOC])
2013-present   Ruth Mugford (with Keith Nicholls and Danny Feltham [Reading])
2013-present   Sudipta Goswami (Ocean and Climate Model Manager)
2012-2013       Marius Arthun (with Keith Nicholls and Danny Feltham [Reading])
2012-2013       Nicolas Bruneau (Ocean Model Manager)
2011-2013       Jan De Rydt (with Adrian Jenkins)
2010-2014       Toshi Kimura (with Adrian Jenkins and Matt Piggott [Imperial])
2009-2012       Clare Enright (Ocean Model Manager)

Ph.D. Students

2015-2019   VACANT; (Reading, with Danny Feltham)
2015-2019   VACANT; (Cambridge, with Jerome Neufeld)
2014-present   Ryan Patmore (BAS, with Alberto Naveira Garabato [Southampton])
2014-present   Ben Yeager (Imperial, with Matt Piggott)
2014-present   Erik Mackie (Bristol, with Rory Bingham)
2013-present   Heather Regan (BAS, with Mike Meredith, and Jenny Pike [Cardiff])
2012-present   Mohamed Elmagrbi (Nottingham, with Matt Scase)
2011-2014   Jim Jordan (BAS, with Matt Piggott [Imperial] and Adrian Jenkins)
2010-2014  Tom Millgate (BAS, with Adrian Jenkins and Helen Johnson [Oxford])
2010-2013  Alek Petty (University College London, with Danny Feltham)
2008-2012  Carl Gladish (New York University, with David Holland)


I spent my early years at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, from which I emerged in 1998 with degree in Mathematics with Environmental Science. I then moved to Loughborough University for my Ph.D., submitted in 2001 with the title "Numerical Modelling of the Riverine Thermal Bar". I developed an implicit finite-volume non-hydrostatic code to study the physics and ecology of the thermal bar, a downwelling plume in lakes that arises from the existence of a freshwater temperature of maximum density. We were particularly interested in the deep-water renewal of Lake Baikal in Siberia, so I enjoyed a trip to Irkutsk as part of the project.

After that, I spent 18 months at the Met Office as a developer of the Forecasting Ocean Assimilation Model, which produced 5-day forecasts of the world's oceans using a suite of nested traditional finite-difference hydrostatic ocean models that assimilated satellite and in-situ observations in real time. Shortly before the Met Office moved to Exeter in 2003, I escaped to a postdoctoral position at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London. I worked there with Danny Feltham on simplified models of Ice Shelf Water (ISW), meltwater which flows up the base of  Antarctic ice shelves. We produced a two-dimensional (depth-averaged) plume model that creaks on to this day.

This work neatly led to my current job at BAS, which I started in 2005. Despite the word 'modeller' in my job title, I identify myself primarily as a 'scientist' that likes to study oceans, ice shelves, and sea ice. Admittedly, the tools I have used the most over the years are complicated numerical models such as MITgcm, Fluidity-ICOM, MICOM, NEMO and CICE, and I also like to use simpler models to examine reduced problems.  However, I have recently pursued studies that rely entirely on data from satellite and airborne surveys, partly motivated by a lack of the focussed research time needed to spend on decent numerical modelling. I have also participated in experiments in the cold-room down the road at DAMTP and in the 13m-diameter rotating tank in Grenoble (now demolished to make way for a motorway), and joined a research cruise to the Bellingshausen Sea (February 2007), during which I wrote a blog that you might not be interested in.