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PhD in Geographical & Earth Sciences: Improved GPS time series analysis for geoscience applications including sea-level, GIA, tectonics, hydrology & volcanology

Project Description

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) data to measure the motion of bedrock is highly useful in many areas of geoscience:

• calibrating tide gauges for land motion
• understanding glacial isostatic adjustment and elastic rebound as ice load changes,
• hydrologic loading
• tectonics
• volcanology

This project will test innovative strategies for optimising analysis of GPS time series. It is open to the student to select the application area which they find of most interest.

Rates obtained from the GPS time series may be seriously affected by unattributed/unmodelled effects on the GPS. Effects may include offsets (sudden jumps in the time series), ionospheric and tropospheric effects and local environmental changes. The student will investigate one or more of these and develop a ground-breaking approach to improve the GPS analysis procedure and/or time series analysis. Depending on the student’s interest and background, the project may lean more towards innovation in GPS processing, developments aimed more at a particular application area, or innovation in statistical techniques – functional data analysis has not yet been applied to GPS time series. GPS processing of the GPS data will be performed using the GIPSY-X or GAMIT scientific software packages.

The above represents a broad general overview of the project. See for further details. To discuss the potential possibilities in more detail, please contact Dr Petrie in the first instance.

IAPETUS is looking for candidates with the following qualities and backgrounds:
- A first or 2:1 undergraduate degree, or have relevant comparable experience;
- In addition, candidates may also hold or be completing a Masters degree in their area of proposed study or a related discipline; &
- An outstanding academic pedigree and research potential, such as evidenced through the publication of articles, participation in academic conferences and other similar activities.

A variety of backgrounds would be suitable for this project – a degree in any of earth science, physics, mathematics, statistics, computing science and engineering would be useful. Familiarity with Linux and basic programming/scripting skills would be an advantage. For a project which leans more towards developing new statistical frameworks, a suitable mathematical background would be needed.

Funding Notes

IAPETUS’ postgraduate studentships are tenable for between 3-4 years, depending on the doctoral research project the student is studying and provides the following package of financial support:

- A tax-free maintenance grant set at the UK Research Council’s national rate, which in 2017/18 is £14,553 (pending confirmation).
- Full payment of their tuition fees at the Home/EU rate; &
- Access to extensive research support funding.

Part-time award-holders are funded for between six (6) and eight (8) years and receive a maintenance grant at 50% of the full-time rate.
All studentships will commence in September/October 2018, except in exceptional circumstances.

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