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A big data virtual investigation of chemistry in the upper troposphere

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The global upper troposphere (8-12 km overhead) is a profoundly important part of the atmosphere that impacts climate, air quality and the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Key to its influence is reactive nitrogen. There are large gaps in our understanding of the processes that govern the dynamics of reactive nitrogen in the global upper troposphere that impact our ability to make accurate estimates of human-caused changes in climate and air quality.

Unprecedented measurements of reactive nitrogen from NASA research aircraft campaigns and from a recently launched ESA satellite mission provide more comprehensive information about the composition of the global atmosphere than ever before.

The successful candidate will apply machine learning techniques to aircraft and satellite observations of reactive nitrogen to identify distinct spatial and seasonal patterns in reactive nitrogen in the global upper troposphere and interpret the new information this provides using the global 3D GEOS-Chem chemical transport model.

The successful candidate will join the European Research Council (ERC) funded UpTrop team ( led by Dr Eloise Marais at University of Leicester and also be part of the international GEOS-Chem User Community.

A prerequisite for this studentship is a quantitative background and some computing experience. No advanced computer programming skills needed, as training in this will be provided by the University of Leicester Research Computing staff and by the lead supervisor who has over 10 years’ chemical transport modelling experience. The project includes opportunities to travel to local and international conferences and science meetings and GEOS-Chem User’s Meetings in the US, Europe or China.

How to apply

When applying, please ensure we have received all of the following required documents by the application closing date :

• 2 academic references
• Statement of interest
• CV
• Undergraduate transcripts
o If you have completed your undergraduate degree, we will also require your undergraduate degree certificate
o If you have completed a postgraduate degree, we will also require your transcripts and degree certificate

If we do not have the required documents by the closing date, your application may not be considered for the studentship.

Funding Notes

.5 year fully funded studentships including :

• UK/EU fees paid
• Annual stipend of £15009 (fixed)
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

International candidates will need to provide evidence they can fund the difference between the Home/EU and International tuition fee


E. A. Marais et al., Nitrogen oxides in the global upper troposphere: interpreting cloud-sliced NO2 observations from the OMI satellite instrument, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18, 17017-17027, 2018,

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