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An investigation of the role of upper-ocean fine structure and turbulence on the variability of air-sea carbon exchange

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Palmer
    Prof J Sharples
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This is an extract of the research project. Simply click on “Apply on-line” above for an instant access to the complete version.

Data for this project will come from the mid-Atlantic ridge and Sargasso sea region as part of a major new NERC project RidgeMix, led by Prof. Sharples. Ocean Microstructure Gliders (OMGs, Palmer et al, 2015), autonomous ocean robots with specialist capabilities in measuring ocean fine and micro-structure, will provide measurements of turbulent mixing in the near surface layer and upper thermocline. Additionally, data will be provided from nearby long-term moorings and partial pressure carbon dioxide (pCO2) will be available from ship-based measurements alongside complementary RidgeMix data.

The student will develop expert understanding of the physical and biogeochemical controls on ocean carbon cycles and training will be provided in processing and analysis of turbulence and other observational data. The student will also spend a period of time at PML learning about air-sea gas transfer mechanisms and parameterisations (Carpenter & Nightingale, 2015) and applying this information to their data. Combining this new dataset with 1-D models of the ocean surface mixed layer and global ERA-Interim data the student will then develop an improved understanding of how changing weather, waves and ocean conditions impact on CO2 uptake to address the key question: How will predicted future climate scenarios impact on the turbulent transfer of CO2 between our ocean and atmosphere?

In addition to the training provided by our DTP the student will also benefit from the expertise of their supervisory team who will provide training in,

Data processing and analysis techniques relating to a wide range of ocean measurements inc. ocean microstructure (turbulence), gliders, ADCP and CTD.
pCO2 measurement techniques.
Applied mathematical and physical analytical techniques.

Development of ocean surface boundary layer models including coupling of atmosphere and oceans and gas-transfer.

Funding Notes

Competitive tuition fee, research costs and stipend (£14,056 tax free) from the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership “Understanding the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean” (DTP website: http://www.liv.ac.uk/studentships-earth-atmosphere-ocean/) led by the University of Liverpool, the National Oceanographic Centre and the University of Manchester. The studentship is granted for a period of 42 months. Further details on eligibility, how to apply, deadlines for applications and interview dates can be found on the website. EU students are eligible for a fee-only award.


Williams, R. G., & Follows, M. J. (2011). Ocean dynamics and the carbon cycle: Principles and mechanisms. Cambridge University Press.

M. R. Palmer et al (2015) Turbulence and Mixing by Internal Waves In The Celtic Sea Determined From Ocean Glider Microstructure Measurements. Journal of Marine Systems http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.11.005

Palmer, Sharples, et al (2013), Variable Behavior In Pycnocline Mixing Over Shelf Seas. GRL, 40, doi: 10.1029/2012GL054638. Carpenter, L. J., & Nightingale, P. D. (2015). Chemistry and Release of Gases from the Surface Ocean. Chemical reviews DOI: 10.1021/cr5007123

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