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PhD position in Physics at Warwick University - Astroclimes: Tracking greenhouse gases using astrophysical observations

   Department of Physics

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  Dr David Armstrong, Dr Matteo Brogi  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Warwick United Kingdom Astronomy Astrophysics Climate Science Environmental Physics

About the Project


We invite applications from outstanding and highly motivated students for the new Warwick Prize Scholarships in Astrophysics. The successful applicant will work with Dr David Armstrong and Dr Matteo Brogi within the Astronomy and Astrophysics group in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick.

This project will explore the potential of spectroscopic astronomical observations for monitoring of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Spectra of astrophysical targets contain the imprint of the Earth, in the form of absorption and emission lines from atoms and molecules in the atmosphere. In particular the signatures of carbon dioxide and methane are highly significant, gases which are the primary anthropogenic drivers of climate change. In astronomy much effort is placed in removing this ‘contamination’, known as tellurics, but these could be ideal data for study of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This project has two key goals:

  • Using astronomical spectra for Earth atmosphere monitoring, discovering what type and quality of data is suitable and what molecules can be routinely detected with what precision. If successful we aim to feed this knowledge into global climate models by collaborating with the Met Office.
  • Using the resulting improved modelling of Earth telluric contamination to better understand the astrophysical targets, including exoplanet atmospheres.

If successful this will be a novel methodology for greenhouse gas measurements, complementary to existing ground and space-based facilities. More details on the project can be found here.

Warwick is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in research. Our group is involved in many major ground and space-based projects, including the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, ESA's CHEOPS satellite and upcoming PLATO mission, the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), and the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer (GOTO).

Both the Physics Department and the University of Warwick hold Athena SWAN Silver awards, a national initiative to promote gender equality for all staff and students. Our Astronomy & Astrophysics group also hosts monthly equitea forums to break down barriers faced by all under-represented groups in science. We strongly value equity, diversity and inclusion, and encourage applications from all under-represented groups.

More details on PhD positions with the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at Warwick are available here.

Start Date: October 2022

Funding Duration: 3.5 years

Applications due by: 14 January 2022


You must have or expect a First or Upper second class MSci, MPhys or equivalent degree in Physics or a closely related discipline. Holders of BSc honours degrees are eligible but successful BSc applicants typically have substantial additional research experience. International equivalents are detailed here.

For students whose first language is not English, we normally require a score of 6.5 in IELTS or equivalent. If your previous degree was taught in an English-speaking country this requirement may be waived.

The award is available to home and international applicants.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online application system and follow the instructions. Use course code P-F3P0. Make sure to state an interest in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group. Please state ‘Warwick Prize Scholarships’ or ‘STFC studentship’ as the funding option. We encourage applicants to express interest in more than one available PhD project.

Funding Notes

The project will provide a full UK-standard annual tax-free stipend of £15,609, rising with inflation, plus allocations for travel and computing.
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