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Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (AEROPLANE)

University of Reading - School of Mathematical Physical & Computational Sciences

Location: Reading
Salary: £33,966 to £44,263 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 1st December 2023
Closes: 15th January 2024
Job Ref: SRF45406/R
 

Decarbonizing aviation is difficult and slow. Historically, aircraft efficiency improvements have allowed a strong increase in civil aviation traffic, which continues to this day: 6 July 2023 saw the largest number of daily flights ever recorded, at 134,386 flights globally. Proposed solutions to strongly decrease carbon dioxide emissions from aviation include renewal of the fleet with more efficient engines and airframes and replacing kerosene with sustainable aviation fuel or even hydrogen, but those solutions will not be implemented at large scale before at least 2035. A possible mean of decreasing the climate impact of aviation before then is to act on the non-CO2 effects of aviation, and especially on the formation of warming condensation trails (contrails).

In this context, applications are invited for a postdoctoral position to investigate explore possible implementations of alternative aircraft operations, including avoidance of climate sensitive regions, and quantify whether they reduce the overall climate impact. This position is part of the SESAR3 Joint Undertaking project Advancing mEasures to Reduce aviatiOn imPact on cLimate and enhAnce resilieNce to climate-changE (AEROPLANE), a consortium of 5 European partners led by the Italian company Deep Blue SRL.

Your main role within the project will be to identify the combination of CO2-equivalence metrics that is best suited for resolving CO2/non-CO2 compromises involved in alternative aircraft operations. For example, contrail avoidance typically involves increased CO2 emissions, so you will identify the subset of contrails that could be avoided with no regrets from a climate point of view. The climate outcome of the identified metric combinations will then be quantified with before/after comparisons. This will be done for real flight trajectories over the North Atlantic combined with weather reanalysis. The climate impact of aviation CO2 and non-CO2 emissions will be quantified with the OSCAR reduced-complexity Earth system model.

This is a 13-month fixed-term position. The position will be based at the Department of Meteorology of the University of Reading, with supervision by Prof Nicolas Bellouin.

You will have:

  • A PhD in climate science, or in a closely related field including atmospheric physics, remote sensing, and meteorology.
  • Excellent analytical and computational skills, with a proven ability to handle, post-process, and analyse large datasets.
  • Experience of using an Earth system model, either physical or reduced-complexity.
  • Experience of CO2 equivalence metrics, for example Global Warming Potential and Global Temperature Change Potential.
  • Self-motivated with ability to take initiative and carry out independent work. This is especially important because supervision will often be done remotely.
  • Willingness to collaborate with a team of distributed scientists towards common project goals.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

Interview date - TBC

Informal contact details
Contact role: Line manager
Contact name: Nicolas Bellouin 
Contact email: n.bellouin@reading.ac.uk

Applications from job seekers who require sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications. By reference to the applicable SOC code for this role, sponsorship may be possible under the Skilled Worker Route.  Applicants should ensure that they are able to meet the points requirement under the PBS.  There is further information about this on the UK Visas and Immigration Website.

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