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ECMWF: Maritime Continent Precipitation Processes and Predictability in ECMWF Sub-seasonal Forecasts

   Department of Meteorology

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  Dr S Woolnough, Dr CE Holloway, Dr Frederic Vitart, Dr Peter Bechtold  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) modulates tropical convection on timescales of 30-60 days. It’s most active over the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and West Pacific and should provide a source of skill for rainfall forecasts over the islands of the Maritime Continent on sub-seasonal timescales (2-4 weeks in advance), allowing early warning of high impact weather events. The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) sub-seasonal forecasting system; has relatively high skill for predicting the MJO and rainfall over the oceanic regions around Maritime Continent on these timescales, but the skill over the islands is lower.

The convective systems that produce the rainfall are organized on a range of scales from 10-1000km, and are strongly influenced by the diurnal cycle and land-sea and mountain breezes. To understand the lower skill over the islands, in this PhD project, you will analyze how the existing ECWMF forecast model represents the organization of convection in the Maritime Continent region, including the diurnal cycle of convection, and how it is modulated by the MJO. For example, how changes in cloudiness as the MJO passes through the region modulate the strength of the diurnal cycle and how changes in mean wind direction control the strength and location of land sea-breeze circulations. Using simulations with development versions of the forecast model at resolutions where individual convective systems can be explicitly resolved you will investigate the impact of an explicit representation of convection on the representation of the organization the convection, its modulation by the MJO and the impact on sub-seasonal forecast skill. 

As well as working with the ECMWF model this project will make use of modelling from the TerraMaris project, a collaboration between the University of Reading, UEA, the University of Leeds and the Met Office.

Student profile:

This project would be suitable for students with a degree in physics, mathematics or a closely related environmental or physical science.

Eligibility requirements: Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Physics, Mathematics or a closely related environmental of physical science. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open only to citizens of ECMWF member states.

How to apply: please click the link here to apply. Create an account and during the application process please select the PhD in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate programme. Please quote reference GS23-003 in “Scholarship applied for” box. When you are prompted by the online application system to upload a research proposal, please omit this step as the project is already defined.

Funding Notes

Funding covers full tuition fees plus UKRI stipend. 3-year award plus possible 6-month extension. Starts 18 September 2023. Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open only to citizens of ECMWF member states.

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