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PhD Studentship: Leaky Ocean Eddies

University of East Anglia - School of Environmental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,609 p.a. plus research funding, graduate training and £2,500 for external training, travel and conferences.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st November 2021
Closes: 12th January 2022
Reference: ZHAI_UENV22ARIES

Scientific background 

Mesoscale eddies are ubiquitous and most energetic features of the global ocean circulation. They play a key role in transporting and redistributing climatically important properties such as mass, heat, carbon and nutrients. However, the mechanisms by which ocean eddies transport these properties are still under debate. At the centre of this debate is the unknown ability of ocean eddies to trap and translate fluid, i.e., how leaky are ocean eddies? The aim of this project is to examine the ocean eddy trapping efficiency using both ocean models and satellite observations, identify the key parameters and physical processes, and determine the dominant mechanism(s) of eddy transport in the ocean. 

Research Methodology 

You will join a productive research team of physical oceanographers and fluid dynamists at UEA and the University of Oxford. You will identify and track eddy structures in both idealized and realistic ocean models as well as in satellite observations using popular Eulerian methods that are based on instantaneous information of the flow field. You will use Lagrangian particles to quantify the leakiness of these Eulerian eddies in material transport and determine ocean eddy trapping efficiency. You will identify Lagrangian coherent structures in simple and complex turbulent flows and diagnose lateral transport by these Lagrangian structures. You will determine the dominant mechanism by which ocean eddies transport properties and develop methods to improve eddy parameterization schemes used in current Earth System Models. 

Training 

This project will provide you with a thorough training in numerical modelling, fluid dynamics and data analysis. Researchers at UEA regularly lead and take part in field campaigns and we anticipate that you will participate in an ocean research cruise to gain oceanographic observational expertise. There will also be opportunities for you to attend summer schools and visit collaborating institutions. 

Person specification 

We seek an enthusiastic candidate with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. They will have a degree in physics, mathematics, oceanography, meteorology, or climate science with good numerical skills. 

Primary Supervisor: Dr Xiaoming Zhai

Start Date: 1 October 2022

For more information on this project, please visit www.uea.ac.uk 

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