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PhD Studentship: Developing an urban canopy model for improved weather forecasts in cities

University of Reading - Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Reading
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Funding covers full UK tuition fees plus UKRI stipend (currently at £17,668)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th January 2023
Closes: 28th February 2023
 

Supervisors:  Janet F. Barlow, Omduth Coceal, Matteo Carpentieri (UoS), Martin Best & Humphrey Lean (UK Met Office)

Project Overview:  Most of the world’s population now experiences an urban version of weather extremes and climate change. Accurate forecasting of weather and air quality in cities relies on correctly representing the physics of turbulent exchange of heat and drag between the surface and the overlying atmosphere. Microclimate around buildings is complex but by treating buildings collectively as an “urban canopy”, simple mathematical models can be included in weather forecast models. The challenge lies in understanding how much physical complexity needs to be included: do tall buildings dominate heat exchange? What if sun heats one side of the street and not the other? Does heat get trapped at street level in a heatwave when the wind is weak?

This project will explore flow and turbulence processes around buildings to develop an urban canopy model suitable for numerical weather prediction. A modelling approach developed for vegetation canopies will be used in application to urban canopies. New wind-tunnel experiments would be done to investigate flows for more realistic heated building layouts. Aims of the project would be shaped by the student’s interests and background.

This project is in collaboration with the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service. The student will have regular interaction with supervisors and the MO@Reading group. A potential CASE award from the UK Met Office is available (to be confirmed after offer acceptance). EnFlo at the University of Surrey is a unique UK wind-tunnel facility and one of the few atmospheric boundary-layer wind-tunnels in the world. The student would be part of a large NERC-funded research project called ASSURE with opportunities to take part in field-work and interact with many companies and weather forecast providers.

Eligibility: 

  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in in physical or mathematical sciences, or engineering. Strong mathematical and computational skills are required as well as basic experience in experimentation and data analysis. Knowledge of environmental science and/or advanced experimental skills are an advantage.
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK applicants.

Funding Details:   

  • Starts 19th September 2023
  • 3 years award
  • Funding covers full UK tuition fees plus UKRI stipend (currently at £17,668)

How to apply:  

To apply click “Apply for a Programme”, create your account, and use the link sent by email to start the application process.   During the application process please select the PhD in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote the reference ‘GS23-010’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) When you are prompted by the online application system to upload a research proposal, please omit this step as the project is already defined.

Application Deadline: 

Further Enquiries:  

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

For further details please contact J.f.barlow@reading.ac.uk

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