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Predicting impact of climatic warming and its remediation on both discharge and aquatic carbon flux from an upland peat catchment

   Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

About the Project

Climatic warming has more pronounced impacts in upland areas and these areas are important for water collection, flood control and carbon storage. Remediation and adaptation measures have been developed for impacts on each of these but there is a requirement to assess interaction of these measures to maximise their overall benefit. The student in this project will therefore be involved in monitoring, laboratory simulations and computer modelling of such an upland peat catchment to better understand the impacts of erosion and remediation on this environment under a warming climate.

The field site used in this study, Crowden Great Brook in the Southern Pennines, contains sub-catchments suffering from different amounts of erosion and remediation and therefore can act as models of a warmer future. Instrumentation will be installed to monitor discharge, and solute and particulate fluxes. The organic matter (OM) flux will be characterised by size – with emphasis on the sub um fractions – and by chemical composition – using a variety of techniques (including gas chromatography mass spectrometry and Fourier transform Infrared spectrometry).The fate of the OM collected will be determined experimentally in the laboratory; oxygenation, light and temperature will be varied and changes in composition of the solid and composition of gas will be determined. The high-resolution hydrological data that will be collected will be used to assess the performance of existing Natural Flood Management (NFM) in the catchment. Computer modelling will then be used to predict the impact of further NFM.

The student will gain training in hydrometric field measurements, hydrological analysis, organic geochemistry, rainfall runoff modelling techniques, hydraulic modelling using industry standard software (Flood Modeller and HEC RAS 2D) and analysing, managing, and interpreting data using GIS software (ArcGIS, QGIS) and analytical tools (R and Python). A successful applicant will be able to work in the field including driving to the site and carrying equipment to remote sites (550m a.s.l.). Flood Modeller will be used for model development, calibration, interpretation, and interrogation of 2D and 1D/2D models representing Crowden Brook catchment and NFM measures. They will have access to world-class facilities in the Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science and there will be opportunities for mentoring from experts in the field of computer modelling and NFM through our links to industrial partners. Students will learn a broad portfolio of skills and how to apply these in an upland catchment in the UK (United Kingdom) providing a strong basis for a future career in environmental consultancy or as an environmental scientist in academia.

Funding Notes

This is a self funded project. Tuition fee for home students is £11,000 and £32,000 for EU and International.

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