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Exploring the general principles governing the circulation of planetary atmospheres, focusing on terrestrial planets


About This PhD Project

Project Description

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus Campus in Exeter.

This project will explore some of the general principles governing the circulation of planetary atmospheres, including the Earth, and will seek to determine the relationship of Earth’s circulation to that of other planets and/or past climates on Earth. The project will focus on terrestrial planets, which are planets like Earth that have a well-defined atmosphere with a definite lower boundary.

The student will explore how the circulation depends on the fundamental parameters of the planet, such as the planetary rotation rate and the atmospheric mass and composition. In particular we will seek to understand if and how Earth’s atmosphere is connected to other planetary atmospheres, and so put it in a more general context. Is the Earth’s atmosphere a very special case, or is it really rather ordinary, or generic? What makes a planet habitable? The project will involve a combination of numerical modelling and theory, using a flexible model of planetary atmospheres that can be configured to almost any planet in conjunction with basic geophysical fluid dynamics theory. The student will choose the precise direction of the project, in consultation with the supervisor, and it may be more Earth based or planet-based, and may make connections to global warming and to paleo-climate.

The successful student will join the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics which is part of the Department of Mathematics.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2019 or earlier. This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.

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