The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) connects all major ocean basins and plays the leading oceanic role in Earth’s climate. The existence of the ACC is only possible because the Drake Passage, which separates South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, is currently open to an average depth of approximately 4000m. This hasn’t always been the case; throughout geological history the Drake Passage has been shallower, and even completely closed, which had substantial consequences for the ACC. This project investigates the effect of shallowing and closing the Drake Passage in the Large Rotating Annulus, which serves as a laboratory model of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Supervisors: Kial Stewart ( and Callum Shakespeare (