Mathematics PhD Studentship: Quantifying the Risk of European Extreme Windstorms and Precipitation Events Associated with Extratropical Cyclones

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Academic Supervisors:

Project Description:

Extratropical cyclones are extremely important for the variability of weather over the UK and are often associated with extreme winds or rainfall, which are potentially very damaging. Because of the short record (~50 years) of reliable observations, quantifying this important source of natural hazard risk remains a challenging problem that requires new approaches.

The Met Office decadal prediction system (DePreSys3) has a large 40-member ensemble of hindcasts (retrospective forecasts covering 1960-present), which can be used as a large event set to evaluate the risk of extreme climate events. This enables us to assess the underlying risk in the current climate through much better sampling than the short historical record, and the model initialisation has the advantage of reducing model biases. Preliminary work has shown that model analogues of the extreme observed wind events (such as the UK October 1987J storm) can be found in the ensemble hindcasts.

There is a strong relationship between extratropical cyclone behaviour and large-scale climate modes of variability, e.g. the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The DePreSys3 ensemble mean has been shown to be skilful in predicting the winter NAO up to one year in advance. By further studying the predictable large-scale atmospheric conditions we will gain further insight into the dynamical conditions favourable for the development of these extreme events.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2018.

Entry requirements:

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in physics, mathematics, statistical science, atmospheric science, or another closely related physical or environmental. Some experience in numerical/ statistical modelling and computer programming is desirable. If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

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South West England