PhD Studentship: Antarctic shelf sea processes and impacts on global climate (STEVENS_UMTH17EE)

University of East Anglia - School of Mathematics

Start Date: October 2017

Supervisor: Prof. David Stevens

Project description:  

Scientific background

The polar regions are particularly sensitive to climate change. Furthermore, the response to that change can have global impacts. Good predictions of the circulation and sea-water properties on the continental shelf around the Antarctica are essential for determining future sea level rise, for setting the properties and volume of the bottom waters of the global ocean, and for determining the amount of heat and carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean.

Unfortunately, climate models have great difficulty in representing the seas surrounding Antarctica, which limits our confidence in climate predictions. Progress has been restricted both by a paucity of observations and by relatively crude models. However recent years have seen an order of magnitude increase in observations and an enormous increase in the level of detail represented and captured by climate models.

Research methodology

You will assess state-of-the-art ocean and climate models using the latest observational datasets in this region of key global importance. You will determine the processes leading to model deficiencies and examine the role of recent model improvements in improving simulations. You will undertake idealised and sensitivity experiments with the aim of suggesting further improvements to climate models.

Training and research environment

You will join an active research group at UEA in meteorology, oceanography and climate, and will collaborate with scientists at the UK Met Office. You will be trained in modelling the ocean and climate system and you will learn to use state-of-the-art computer systems to rigorously analyse large climate model datasets. You will have the opportunity to present your work at an international conference. There will also be an opportunity to undertake fieldwork to gain an appreciation of data collection and quality issues.

Person specification: We seek an enthusiastic, pro-active student with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. You will have at least a 2.1 honours degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography or environmental science with good numerical ability. Experience of a programming language will be advantageous. This project will suit an applicant intending to start a scientific career in meteorology, oceanography or climate science.

Funding notes: This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with twenty other research partners.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17, the stipend was £14,296.

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