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ONE Planet DTP - Impact of Arctic tundra snowpack insulation on soil temperatures and carbon fluxes (Ref: OP202013)

  • Full or part time
    Dr N Rutter
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

In Arctic tundra, snowpacks play a critical role in mediating energy exchanges and carbon fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere. Thick snowpacks provide excellent insulation of upper soil layers from very cold winter air temperatures. This has the potential to reduce the depth to which soils freeze in winter, thus accentuating the impact of summertime thaw of upper soil layers and near surface permafrost. Conversely, thin snowpacks provide relatively low wintertime thermal insulation causing deeper soil freezing depths for longer periods of the year. The duration and depth of soil freezing and permafrost melt has a major influence on microbial activity, which in turn controls the potential for release of stored carbon. Snowpack thickness and thermal conductivity of snow has a major controlling influence on the insulative properties of Arctic tundra snowpacks. However, modelling spatial variability in snow depth over tundra is challenging and snow thermal conductivity is often not well represented in climate models.

In this studentship you will work closely with an international team of leading scientists in earth system modelling, including secondments at the University of Waterloo, Canada. You will benefit from expertise in Arctic snowpack field measurements and modelling where access to unique field data sets will allow you to test new modelling approaches and apply them at larger scales across the Arctic. Specifically, this project will use a combination of: 1) meteorological and snowpack data already collected from a pan-Arctic range of field sites, and 2) the Land Surface Model from the NCAR Community Earth System model to investigate application of optimal snow process representation on spatial patterns of soil temperatures and biogeochemical cycling. To deepen your modelling knowledge and scientific skills base, this studentship will provide opportunities for you to make your own seasonal snow measurements in the Canadian Arctic.

This project would suit candidates with numerate degrees and a broad background in any combination of meteorology, physical geography, ecology, geoscience, maths, physics or computational sciences. For more information, please contact Dr Nick Rutter ().

Eligibility and How to Apply:
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); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

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. OP.....) will not be considered.

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.

Funding Notes

We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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