NERC GW4+ DTP PhD Studentship: Evaluating London’s progress towards 60% emissions reduction

University of Bristol - School of Chemistry

The project:

This project is a CASE award with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and is co-supervised with the Met Office.

The major challenge for inferring London’s carbon budget from atmospheric concentration data is that CO2 is emitted from both the natural and anthropogenic sectors. Therefore, we need methods to disentangle the two, and the dataset above will provide us with a unique opportunity to do this. Firstly, data from OCO-2 and the DECC network will allow us to determine the net CO2 flux in the south-east of England. We will do this using a model of atmospheric chemistry and transport in collaboration with the Met Office, combined with a set of Bayesian statistical methods. Secondly, ancillary gas tracers from the “whole atmosphere” site and the DECC network will allow us to separate out the CO2 signals into those that originate from biogenic or anthropogenic sources (e.g. if CO2 is detected in conjunction with elevated carbon monoxide, a traffic source might be implicated).

In this project, you will use a combination of space- and ground-based observations of greenhouse gases and other tracers to develop an emissions evaluation strategy, focused on the South-East of England. Data sources will include:

  1. A new “whole atmosphere” monitoring station at Heathfield to the south of London. This site is a 200m telecommunications tower with a gas monitoring laboratory run by NPL. The site already contains state-of-the-art greenhouse gas measurement instrumentation, and you will help to install and characterise a new suite of sensors for measuring other atmospheric constituents (air pollutants, meteorological sensors, etc.).
  2. The OCO-2 satellite, which measures CO2 from space.
  3. High precision greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances from the DECC-network (, a UK-wide programme to evaluate the UK’s emissions.

You will also learn atmospheric trace gas modelling, and Bayesian statistics. You will collaborate closely with scientists at NPL and the Met Office, and will have the opportunity to regularly share your findings with researchers around the world and government representatives from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project at Please select NERC Great Western Four Plus Doctoral Training Partnership PhD on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements: First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK. Applicants with a minimum Upper Second Class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are encouraged to apply.

Funding: The majority of the studentships are available for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK and are classed as UK/EU for tuition fee purposes. A few fully funded studentships across the DTP are available for EU/EEA applicants not ordinarily resident in the UK (please note that this may be subject to change pending post EU referendum discussions). Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are not eligible for funding.

Contacts: Prof. Simon O’Doherty, Email: Contact number: 0117 928 9186.

The University of Bristol is committed to equality and we value the diversity of our staff and students.

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South West England