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Tracking Storms and Extreme Rainfall over Brazil in Convection-Permitting Simulations of Present and Future Climate, NERC GW4+ DTP PhD studentship for 2022 Entry, PhD in Mathematics

University of Exeter - Department of Mathematics

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Tuition fees and stipend for 3.5 years (currently £15,609 p.a. for 2021/22)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd October 2021
Closes: 10th January 2022
Reference: 4256

Lead Supervisor

Dr Robin Chadwick, University of Exeter, Department of Mathematics 

Additional Supervisors

Dr Jennifer Catto, University of Exeter, Department of Mathematics

Dr Kate Halladay, Met Office

Funding: Tuition fees and stipend for 3.5 years (currently £15,609 p.a. for 2021/22). Also covers research budget of £11,000 for an international conference, lab, field and research expenses and a training budget of £3,250 for specialist training courses and expenses.

Dr Neil Hart, University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP).  The GW4+ DTP consists of the Great Western Four alliance of the University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter plus five Research Organisation partners:  British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Natural History Museum and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.  The partnership aims to provide a broad training in earth and environmental sciences, designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental science http://nercgw4plus.ac.uk/ .

Project Background

Brazil is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as floods, droughts and landslides. Extreme rainfall in the region is frequently associated with organised storm systems such as mesoscale convective systems. Future changes in storms and rainfall over Brazil are likely to have large impacts on Brazilian society and ecosystems but are highly uncertain, partly because the current generation of global climate models (CMIP6 models) run at horizontal grid resolutions that are too coarse to explicitly represent convective storms. Without robust and accurate projections of future rainfall over Brazil, it is very difficult to plan and implement the climate adaptation measures (such as improved flood defences) that are urgently needed.

This project will help to provide improved projections of future climate change over Brazil, which will be used by Brazilian scientists and policymakers to make more informed decisions about how to reduce the vulnerability of Brazil to natural disasters and climate change. More information is available on the advert posted on the University’s website.

Project Aims and Methods

This project will assess the representation of storms and their associated precipitation in state-of-the-art convection-permitting model (CPM) climate simulations. This will include a comparison with present-day observations, analysis of the response to climate change, and a comparison with coarser resolution simulations of both the representation of present-day climate and the response to climate change. Multiple storm-tracking approaches will be used to capture systems from the convective scale through to the mid-latitude storm scale as they track over Brazil.

This project will focus on answering research questions such as how well are storms over Brazil represented in the present-day CPM runs, when compared with observations? This will include analysis of the initiation, propagation, size and other characteristics of organised convective systems, together with their relationship to precipitation and precipitation extremes. However they will also be strongly influenced by the student’s own ideas over the course of the studentship. More information is available on the advert posted on the University’s website.

Project partners

This project is a CASE partnership with the Met Office. Dr Kate Halladay will be the Met Office CASE co-supervisor for this studentship, providing expert guidance on use of the South American convection-permitting simulations.

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