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PhD in snow microphysics

Department of Meteorology

About the Project

The formation and evolution of ice particles (snowflakes) in clouds is an important problem in atmospheric physics. Ice particles in clouds influence the radiation budget of the earth. Meanwhile precipitating snowflakes are an important component of the hydrological cycle not only in polar regions, but also at lower latitudes where they melt during their fall to the surface, to produce rain. Unfortunately large uncertainties exist in our understanding of these important microphysical processes and our ability to simulate them quantitatively.

In our group at the Department of Meteorology at Reading we are conducting research into the fundamental processes by which ice particles evolve in the atmosphere, using
- state-of-the-art remote sensing observations at the Chilbolton Observatory (, with particular focus on multi-wavelength and multi-polarisation techniques
- controlled laboratory experiments to understand the airflow around falling snowflakes and how that influences their evolution (see for example
- idealised theoretical and numerical models of microphysical processes
This PhD is an opportunity to contribute to these areas of novel research, with the precise focus of the PhD dependent on the applicant and their interests/aptitude.

To discuss this PhD opportunity informally please contact Dr Chris Westbrook ()

Funding Notes

Applicants should hold, or be predicted, a strong undergraduate degree (2:i UK honours degree or equivalent), or Masters (merit or distinction level), in a physical or mathematical science.)

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