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SCENARIO: Climate Feedbacks through reactive greenhouse gases (SC2023_06)

   Department of Meteorology

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  Prof W Collins, Dr M.I. Hegglin, Dr Fiona O'Connor, Dr A Voulgarakis  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

How much climate change we might get in future depends on feedback loops that can amplify or dampen climate change. Atmospheric chemistry plays a crucial, but neglected part in these feedbacks. In this project you will determine how reactive greenhouse gases such as methane and ozone are affected by climate change, and how they in turn affect the climate. For instance climate change could result in large natural emissions of gases from wildfires, vegetation or lightning that react to increase ozone and methane. These greenhouse gases could warm the climate still further in a feedback loop. These chemical feedbacks act with the physical climate feedbacks to amplify or dampen human-induced climate change. Understanding how these feedbacks affect future climate is at the cutting edge of climate research as the large climate models are only just starting to include these effects.

How does climate affect greenhouse gases atmosphere, and how does atmospheric composition affect climate? In this project you will use an Earth system model which is the most advanced and complex way tool for modelling future climate. This project uses development version of the UK’s state of the art Earth System model (UKESM1.1) which has the most comprehensive detail of chemistry, biogeochemical and climate processes of any climate model in the world. You will be setting up and running this Earth system model, visualizing its output and comparing its results with a range of satellite (MOPITT, IASI, and TROPOMI) observations of relevant atmospheric gases.

Training opportunities:

In Reading you will be part of the Atmospheric Composition, Radiation, and Climate research group in the Department of Meteorology, learning from a broad range of researchers whose work focuses on the interactions between chemistry and climate and is based on both climate modelling and Earth observations. You will spend at least 3 months at the Met Office in Exeter within the Earth System and Mitigation Science team, relating your work to wider climate science and understanding how this science is used by the UK Government. The collaboration with the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society will introduce you to scientists and students from a wide range of disciplines.

Training courses will be provided on running climate models on large supercomputers.

This is a new and rapidly increasing area of climate science and will involve you collaborating with international scientists in the field.

Student profile:

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree with Merit, or equivalent, in physics, mathematics or a closely related environmental or physical science. It would suit a student with an interest in environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change. Experience of computing and some prior knowledge of programming in python or similar would be desirable, but is not essential as training will be provided.

We will also consider candidates with different academic paths but with experience acquired from a research position, or equivalent, that is relevant to the topic of the PhD project.

To apply, please follow the instructions at

Funding Notes

This project is potentially funded by the Scenario NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, subject to a competition to identify the strongest applicants.
Due to funding conditions, this studentship is only open to candidates who are eligible for UK Home Fees status. All Scenario international studentships for Autumn 2023 entry have been filled.
The project has CASE funding from The Met Office.

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