PhD Studentship: Improving our Understanding of Oceanic CO2 Uptake using Atmospheric Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide Measurements (SUNTHARALINGAM_UENV17EE)

University of East Anglia - School of Environmental Sciences

Start Date: October 2017

Supervisor: Dr Parvhada Suntharalingam

Project description:  


In the face of rising atmospheric CO2 levels, we urgently need to understand the processes regulating these levels and how they will evolve. Oceanic CO2 uptake accounts for a significant fraction of anthropogenic CO2 removal from the atmosphere, however, there is considerable uncertainty in quantifying this flux, understanding the underlying processes (e.g., biological vs. physical circulation), and how these processes will evolve with climate change.

A promising approach towards further insight is the joint analysis of atmospheric CO2 variations together with other gases influenced by similar processes.  This project focuses on oxygen and nitrous oxide (N2O). Joint analyses of O2 and N2O provide independent constraints on the physical and biological influences on ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchange.


A global multiple-tracer analysis (CO2, O2, N2O), combining atmospheric measurements and numerical modelling, to characterize physical and biological processes controlling ocean fluxes of atmospheric CO2. This will lead to more accurate quantification of global ocean carbon uptake and its future evolution.

Project steps include analyzing CO2, APO and N2O measurements from global networks and incorporating them into the GEOS-Chem atmospheric model.  You will also have the opportunity to develop the project direction following your own interests, supported by related research at UEA.


You will work within two research groups at UEA: Parvadha Suntharalingam (primary supervisor) conducts research on the processes controlling greenhouse gas budgets and fluxes using a combination of data analysis and numerical models; Andrew Manning (second supervisor) specializes in atmospheric O2 measurements and leads the Carbon Related Atmospheric Measurement (CRAM) Laboratory at UEA.

You will receive training in atmospheric modelling and measurements, and on the global carbon cycle, attend scientific summer schools and present results at international conferences. You will have opportunity to interact with related projects at UEA and within the UK and internationally (e.g., the GEOS-Chem modelling network ( and the greenhouse gas measurement community through their GGMT meetings (

Person specification: This project is suited to a candidate with very good numerical skills and interest in the carbon cycle. We encourage applications from students with degrees in Mathematics/Applied Mathematics/Computing/Environmental Sciences/Chemistry/Oceanography/Meteorology. For those crossing disciplines, additional training will be provided.

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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