About the Project
Climate change is inextricably linked with perturbations to the carbon cycle brought on by emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane. Radiocarbon (14C) is unique in its potential to provide direct constraints on the magnitude and pace of carbon exchange between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and terrestrial ecosystems. Building on recent advances in 14C measurements and the emergence of isotope-enabled carbon cycle and earth system models, Radiocarbon Inventories of Switzerland (RICH) is a first-of-its-kind project to use 14C to constrain carbon cycle processes at a national level. RICH is a Swiss National Science Foundation-funded Sinergia Project. Our overall approach interweaves 14C measurements of major carbon pools – the atmosphere (S. Szidat, University of Bern), the soils (F. Hagedorn, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research), and rivers and lakes (T. Eglinton, ETH Zürich), with modelling activities (H. Graven, Imperial College London) – to shed new light on the mechanisms and dynamics of regional-scale exchange between carbon reservoirs. The research will leverage pre-existing field and laboratory infrastructures, extensive data and sample archives, together with novel analytical and modelling approaches. A vibrant team of researchers from the four research groups as well as further project partners will work collaboratively on the various sub-projects within the RICH program.
Available PhD position
This is a 3 ½ year PhD studentship at Imperial College London with Dr Heather Graven to develop numerical modelling of carbon cycling in Switzerland. You will create a novel numerical model of carbon reservoirs and their interactions in Switzerland. You will work with colleagues at ETH Zürich and WSL to develop and constrain the model for specific eco-regions with observational data. Then, you will use the models to simulate scenarios such as the influence of warming and drying trends on vegetation mortality and subsequent carbon cycling in soils and rivers in the Upper Rhone Valley, and the effect of changes in land use on carbon cycling in the Upper Rhine and Ticino Valleys. You will be part of the Space and Atmospheric Physics research group at Imperial and actively collaborate with the groups in Switzerland.
A highly motivated student with a masters in mathematics, chemistry, physics, environmental sciences or a related field, with a passion for numerical analysis and modelling.
5 October 2020 or later by mutual agreement
Please send your application, which should include a motivation letter, CV, an academic transcript of your studies and contact details for two references, to [Email Address Removed] before 1 September 2020.
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