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Impact of Arctic snow on soil and sea ice (Advert Reference: RDFC17-R/GES/RUTTER)

  • Full or part time
    Dr N Rutter
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The thermal properties of Arctic snow play a vital role in mediating energy exchanges between the atmosphere and tundra soils or sea ice. Thick snowpacks with low thermal conductivity will insulate the substrate during cold winters leading to warmer soils and thinner sea ice. Thin snowpacks with high thermal conductivity have the opposite effect.

Permafrost active layer dynamics as well as sea ice formation and duration are therefore strongly controlled by the mass and properties of overlying seasonal snow. However, our understanding of spatial variability in snow properties and snow mass is poorly constrained in Arctic environments, principally as we are strongly limited by current remote sensing capabilities and accurate retrieval of snow mass. This project will allow you to explore ways of removing these limitations through measurements and modelling for future development in snow remote sensing:

1. Measurements of snow properties and snow mass from a wide range of tundra and sea ice environments will allow you to create a much-needed robust quantification of variability in Arctic snowpack properties. Opportunities will be made available for you to add to these measurements yourself as part of international field campaigns in Arctic environments (e.g. Trail Valley Creek, NWT, Canada).

2. Recent advances in modelling of snowpack structure (e.g. Flexible Snow Model) and microwave radiative transfer in snow (e.g. Snow Microwave Radiative Transfer model) will allow you to explore and develop new approaches to spatially distributed simulation of Arctic snow that will directly feed into development of future low-cost satellite mission ideas.

You will be supported to develop your numerical modelling skills, e.g. using high performance computing, and your analyses will feed into international multidisciplinary networks of modelling and monitoring Arctic environmental change. This is a collaborative project externally co-supervised by Dr Chris Derksen (Environment and Climate Change Canada / University of Waterloo, Canada) and Dr Mel Sandells (CORES Science and Engineering Ltd, UK).

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above).
• Appropriate IELTS score (at least 6.5), if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degress/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDFC17-R1/GES/RUTTER) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 (application deadline is 4 January 2019) or 1 October 2019 (application deadline is 1 July 2019)
Interview Date if 1 March 2019 start would be week commencing 21 January 2019 (via Skype)

*** If a suitable candidate is identified in the first round of applications, then any applications received after 4 January 2019 will not be taken forward ***

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.






Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa), as well as a research and training support budget. The studentship includes fees for Home/EU and International students. This is a collaborative project with University of Waterloo, Canada.

The principal supervisor for this project is Dr Nick Rutter (with Dr Chris Derksen and Dr Mel Sandells)

References

Sandells, Melody, Essery, Richard, Rutter, Nick, Wake, Leanne, Leppänen, Leena and Lemmetyinen, Juha (2017) Microstructure representation of snow in coupled snowpack and microwave emission models. The Cryosphere, 11 (1). pp. 229-246. ISSN 1994-0416
Rutter, Nick, Marshall, Hans-Peter, Tape, Ken, Essery, Richard and King, Joshua (2016) Impact of spatial averaging on radar reflectivity at internal snowpack layer boundaries. Journal of Glaciology, 62 (236). pp. 1065-1074. ISSN 0022-1430
King, Joshua, Kelly, Richard, Kasurak, Andrew, Dugauy, Claude, Gunn, Grant, Rutter, Nick, Watts, Tom and Derksen, Chris (2015) Spatio-temporal influence of tundra snow properties on Ku-band (17.2 GHz) backscatter. Journal of Glaciology, 61 (226). pp. 267-279. ISSN 0022-1430
Rutter, Nick, Sandells, Melody, Derksen, Chris, Toose, Peter, Royer, Alain, Montpetit, Benoit, Lemmetyinen, Juha and Pulliainen, Jouni (2014) Snow stratigraphic heterogeneity within ground-based passive microwave radiometer footprints: implications for emission modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 119 (3). pp. 550-565. ISSN 2169-9011
Derksen, Chris, Toose, Peter, Lemmetyinen, Juha, Pulliainen, Jouni, Langlois, Alexandre, Rutter, Nick and Fuller, Mark (2012) Evaluation of passive microwave brightness temperature simulations and snow water equivalent retrievals through a winter season. Remote Sensing of Environment, 117. pp. 236-248. ISSN 0034-4257

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