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Dr Michel Tsamados
Pearson building
Gower Street
Tel: +44 (0)207 679 2146
Dr Michel Tsamados profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Dept of Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I have a BSc. in Theoretical Physics (statistical and non-linear physics) from Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon. I am holder of the 'agregation' in physics, the highest teaching diploma in France. I have completed in 2009 a Ph.D. on the mechanical properties and statistical physics of disordered glassy systems awarded from Université Claude Bernard Lyon and in collaboration with King's College London.

I have 5 years’ post-doctoral experience in sea ice research in CPOM. This includes the analysis of high-resolution sea ice deformation data in the European Space Agency GLOBICE project and the intercomparison of several observational datasets with sea-ice model results. He has also worked extensively on the development of sea-ice models, including the incorporation of anisotropic rheology and air-ice and ocean-ice drag laws into the CICE sea-ice model and the statistical forecast of Arctic sea ice extent. I have supervised  several students and am involved in several research grants, including as named researcher or researcher co-investigator on three funded NERC proposals and co-investigator on another under consideration. My role in the department of Earth Sciences at UCL is:

- to contribute within the CPOM group to the observational generation of sea-ice thickness data as well as other sea ice characteristics and foster their scientific exploitation by the wider community.
- develop a novel understanding of the flow of disorder complex solids based on new theoretical models, numerical simulation and observations.

Research Groups
Research Summary

Material Sciences:

The general aim of my Ph. D. was to understand the mechanical properties of disordered glassy materials. To tackle this problem I used a multi-scale approach and addressed the following questions:

- Identify the elementary relaxation processes in glassy materials (non-affine deformation, localized quadrupolar rearrangements, shear bands) and their interactions (elastic propagation, cascade).

- How to generalize continuum mechanics to disordered system and small scales ?

- Has the plastic flow a local origin controlled by a local order parameter or is it independent of structural details and purely dynamical ?

Climate Sciences:

After my PhD, conscious of the trans-disciplinarity of some of the results obtained during my PhD, and of the parallels that could be made between the rheology of disordered systems at different scales, from the atomic to the geophysical, I decided to seize the opportunity to work with Professor Daniel Feltham and to apply my knowledge of the rheology of complex systems to the understanding of the flow of sea ice.

The purpose of my first post-doctoral project at CPOM was to introduce a new model of sea ice deformation and rheology that takes account of the observed anisotropy of the sea ice cover into the sea ice component (the Los Alamos code CICE) of a Global Circulation Model (GCM).

A major outcome of this work was to show that modifying sea ice rheology to account for the observed anisotropy of the Arctic sea ice cover resulted in enhanced predictions of the sea ice thickness distribution and mass fluxes, as tested with satellite observations.

In addition the code has been introduced in the official release of the General Circulation Model (GCM) sea ice component, CICE. CICE is for example used by the Met Office Hadley Centre.

As a researcher at the Department of meteorology at Reading University my  project was to incorporate in CICE a new drag parametrization for the air-ice and ice-ocean interfaces that explicitly accounts for form drag. In contrast to skin drag, form drag results from a direct obstruction of the flow of the air and ocean against obstacles such as pressure ridges, floe edges or even melt pond edges on both sides of the sea ice cover.

In order to validate the parameterization of the model a collaboration with the NASA project ICE BRIDGE has been established. This collaboration will allow us as a separate project to retrieve the critical parameters of the model, floe edge, ridge height, distance between ridges, floe length, distance between floes, ice concentration. This will complement the work that I have started in retrieving similar information from high resolution satellites.

While often of fundamental nature my research is always intended to address practical challenges in both the field of material sciences and climate sciences. This dual approach in my research, fundamental and applied, is very clearly evidenced in my recent work in the construction and analysis of new mathematical models of physical processes in the cryosphere which combines the development of fundamental new theory and numerical simulations with field measurements and remotely-sensed observations.

Teaching Summary

In 2004/2005 as part of my degree at the prestigious Ecole Normale Sup´erieure I dedicated an academic year to train as a physics teacher and to undertake this national competitive examination. During my PhD I then taught, as a qualified teacher, more than 200 hours in various subjects both at undergraduate and master level (statistical physics, condensed matter physics, practicals in physics). At UCL I gave tutorials in oceanography. I have also taught sciences to young children and biophysics to medical students in the private sector. In the Department of Meteorology at Reading University I have taken part in the ‘Richardson Forecast Factory’ helping year 10 students make weather forecast. As part of the new Reading Environmental Physics degree I have helped develop from scratch a new 1st year 10 credit module on Atoms and Molecules to be taught in Jan-Mar 2015. I am extremely keen to teach at the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL where I will teach from Autumn 2015 the third year course, GEOL3039 Ocean Physics and Climate Change. In fact I believe that teaching can also be a very efficient way for researchers to gain an in depth understanding of the topic they are teaching.

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