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Assessing the Impact of Dynamic Turbulence Modelling on Sub-Kilometric Unified Model Simulations of Convective Storms during WesCon, 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: 4258

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.

Lead Supervisor

Dr Georgios Efstathiou, University of Exeter, Department of Mathematics 

Additional Supervisors

Prof Robert Plant, University of Reading, Department of Meteorology

Prof Robert Beare, University of Exeter, Department of Mathematics

Dr Adrian Lock, Met Office

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.  It aims to provide a broad training in earth and environmental sciences, designed to train tomorrow’s leaders in earth and environmental science. For further details about the programme please see http://nercgw4plus.ac.uk/

Project Background

Convective storms are responsible for many of the most violent meteorological phenomena on Earth. Deep convection is usually highly localised and difficult to accurately predict as it is dependent on interactions across a wide range of scales, from small-scale turbulent motions up to the synoptic-scale environment. A substantial step forward in our ability to forecast convective events has come with the advent of high-resolution Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. However, the improvements from enhancing the model resolution are not always apparent as model results can be very sensitive to the treatment of the unresolved turbulence length scales [1]. We encounter such modelling challenges because the high-resolution NWP grid spacings correspond to the dominant scales of boundary layer turbulence and cloud development, and to scales characterising cloud mixing with its immediate environment.

Project Aims and Methods

This PhD project aims at improving the representation of convective storms in sub-km NWP by implementing and assessing a dynamic, scale-adaptive turbulence model in the operational Met Office Unified Model (UM). The dynamic turbulence modelling approach has been developed from the Computational Fluid Dynamics community to alleviate the need for an a priori specification of closure parameters in turbulence models. This approach can provide dynamically derived length scales that will adapt to the partially resolved flow field in time and space. The use of dynamic length scales relaxes the strict assumption for a clear scale separation made in conventional turbulence schemes [2]. This can enable NWP models to better resolve convection across a range of sub-kilometric resolutions. More information is available on the University’s website.

Candidate requirements

Strong mathematical or physical sciences background is essential. Some coding experience is desirable.

Project partners

This project is co-sponsored by a Met Office CASE studentship. The PhD student will have the opportunity to take a 3-month placement at the Met Office and work closely with staff members.

Training

The DTP offers funding to undertake specialist training relating to the student’s specialist area of research. The Met Office will provide training on the UM and its new modelling system.

For information relating to the research project please contact the lead Supervisor via g.efstathiou@exeter.ac.uk https://emps.exeter.ac.uk/mathematics/staff/ge235

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