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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
4/15 - Shelf Seas Group Leader, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
8/10 - 4/15 Ocean Modeller, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
6/05 - 8/10 Ice-Ocean Modeller, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
1/09 - 9/12 Associate Lecturer, Open University
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)

Grant-Funded Postdocs

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])
2012-2013       Marius Arthun (with Keith Nicholls and Danny Feltham [Reading])
2011-2013       Jan De Rydt (with Adrian Jenkins)
2010-2014       Toshi Kimura (with Adrian Jenkins and Matt Piggott [Imperial])

BAS core staff

2015-present  Emma Young (Shelf Seas Modeller)
2013-present  Sudipta Goswami (Ocean and Climate Model Manager)
2012-2013     Nicolas Bruneau (Ocean Model Manager)
2009-2012     Clare Enright (Ocean Model Manager)

Ph.D. Students

2015-present   Rebecca Frew (Reading, with Danny Feltham)
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 along the base of  Antarctic ice shelves.

This work neatly led to my current job at BAS, which I started in 2005. Not being one to shy away from self-aggrandisement, I like to think of myself as a general 'scientist' that studies a range of problems to do with oceans, ice shelves, and sea ice by any means necessary. In other words, I don't think of myself as an 'oceanographer', 'modeller', 'physicist', 'mathematician', etc., though if someone asks me what I do I usually pick whichever of those I think will sound most impressive. The tools I have used the most over the years are complicated numerical models of the ocean and ice 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. I have also participated in experiments 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, during which I wrote a blog that you might not be interested in.