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Research Fellow in Modelling of the Mesosphere, Lower Thermosphere and Ionosphere

University of Leeds - School of Chemistry

Location: Leeds
Salary: £34,304 to £40,927 p.a. Grade 7
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 28th September 2021
Closes: 24th October 2021
Job Ref: EPSCH1049

Do you want to play a key role in studying the neutral and ionized atmosphere near the edge of space? The mesosphere / lower thermosphere and the overlapping D and E region ionospheres (MLTI) are the least understood region of Earth's atmosphere but form a critical transition region between the atmosphere and geospace.  MLTI variability can have a significant impact on over-the-horizon high frequency radio communications and global navigation satellite system signals. Atmospheric waves propagating from the MLTI are also a source of variability for the space weather region and can impact the atmospheric drag experienced by low earth orbit satellites. 

We are looking for an enthusiastic, motivated, and interdisciplinary Research Fellow who will hold a joint position in the School of Chemistry and in the School of Physics and Astronomy. The Research Fellow will study short-term variability around the mesopause and the D- and E-regions caused by 1) space weather including energetic particle precipitation and solar flares and 2) dynamical forcing from the lower atmosphere. A focus here will be on modelling and understanding of the global occurrence of Sporadic E layers (Es). Using long-term Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) simulations, you will also explore climate change impacts on MLTI due to projected changes in greenhouse gases and the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer over the 21st century. You will be analysing large quantities of model data as well as heterogeneous sets of observations as you quantify MLTI variability using analysis methods suitable for handling 'big data' in an open-science and collaborative environment. This role will be based at the University of Leeds (UK) but you will be expected to visit our project partner Dr. Albert A. Viggiano at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

You will have a PhD (or have submitted your thesis before taking up the role) in Atmospheric Physics, Atmospheric Chemistry, Space Physics, Applied Mathematics, Geophysics or a closely allied discipline, together with a strong background in computer programming, code development and using large numerical codes and/or datasets. Experience of working directly on research problems related to the earth’s MLTI would be beneficial.

To explore the post further, or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

John Plane, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, Tel: +44 (0)113 343 8044 or email:


Daniel Marsh, Priestley Chair in Comparative Planetary Atmospheres, Tel: +44 (0)113 343 9296 or email: 

Location: Leeds - Main Campus

Faculty/Service: Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences

School/Institute: School of Chemistry

Category: Research

Salary: £34,304 to £40,927 p.a.

Due to funding restrictions, an appointment will not be made higher than £34,304 p.a.

Working Time: 37.5 hours per week

Contract Type: Fixed Term (Up to 2 years (grant funding))

Closing Date: Sunday 24 October 2021

Interview Date: To be confirmed

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