About the Project
There are several large-scale circulation patterns that can be associated with atmospheric blocking. However, the influence of these patterns on features such as block persistence and surface effects (e.g. precipitation and surface temperature) are not fully understood. Moreover, several aspects of extremely long-lived events remain to be investigated. This project aims to answer the following science questions:
• Do some large-scale circulation patterns lead to more persistent blocking events?
• Are extremely persistent events the result of a single pattern that undergoes a continuous re-intensification?
• Or alternatively, do they result from the co-existence and interaction of several patterns that follow their own life-cycles?
To answer these questions we will use a combination of newly developed methods to track anticyclones (Estareja 2018) and processed-based techniques (Martínez-Alvarado et al. 2016), to investigate the processes that affect the development, evolution and persistence of blocking anticyclones. The methodology will be applied to three types of datasets: long-term observationally constrained reanalyses, which provide an accurate representation of past and current atmospheric states; high-resolution free-running climate simulations, which enable experimentation under past, present and future conditions; high-resolution NWP simulations, which enable an evaluation of blocking-related error development in operational weather forecasting. Comparisons between these datasets will help to identify shortcomings in the current weather forecast and climate models and potentially lead to important improvements.
The student will be able to attend courses in the NCAS training programme of relevance to the PhD topic such as the Climate Modelling Summer School in 2021 and the Introduction to the Unified Model. Having the Met Office, a world-leading institution in numerical weather and climate prediction, as a project partner will open the potential for the student’s research to influence future model development. The student will visit Dr Ackerley at the Met Office in Exeter to learn more about the process of model evaluation and development at the Met Office and experience working in a non-academic environment.
This project will be suitable for a highly self-motivated student with an interest in developing science without losing view of its consequences on and applications to everyday life. Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree with Merit, or equivalent in (ideally) mathematics, physics, engineering or other closely related environmental of physical science.
You can find a short video of Oscar Martinez-Alvarado taking about the project on YouTube: https://youtu.be/TyTC0_Zxz2U
To apply, please follow the instructions at http://www.reading.ac.uk/graduateschool/how-to-apply/gs-how-to-apply-pgr.aspx
Martínez-Alvarado et al. (2016): Diabatic Processes and the evolution of two contrasting summer extratropical cyclones. Mon. Weather Rev., 144: 3251–3276
Woollings, T. et al. (2018): Blocking and its response to climate change. Current Climate Change Reports 4: 287–300.
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