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The air we breathe – Quantifying stratospheric influence on extreme air pollution events

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M.I. Hegglin
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating up to 7 million
premature deaths each year being a result of air pollution exposure. Air pollution is not only affected by the strength in the emissions of the air pollutants, but also by the prevailing meteorological conditions (such as temperature, solar radiation, precipitation, and winds). Another factor recently identified to contribute to extreme air pollution events and crucial for explaining trends in tropospheric ozone over the past few decades is transport of ozone-rich air from the stratosphere into the troposphere.

This PhD project will use a combination of satellite remote observations and high-resolution chemistry-climate model simulations in order to identify and quantify the stratospheric contribution to global air pollution events. Improved data analysis techniques will be designed and applied to determine seasonality and transport pathways of the influence. Also, down-scaling methodologies will need to be established that help relate the lower resolution satellite measurements to extreme pollution events as seen in in-situ measurements.

The student will be trained in the interdisciplinary fields of meteorology, climate, and air quality, and gain skills in data analysis using big data from both Earth observations and climate models. The student will also obtain experience in modeling and retrieval science.

The project is supervised by Michaela Hegglin (University of Reading), and co-supervised by Brian Kerridge (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), and Nicolas Bellouin (University of Reading).

The full project description is available at:

Funding Notes

Funding would be via the NERC SCENARIO Doctoral Training Partnership:

This project has CASE sponsorship from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Harwell, Didcot) and will involve a placement of at least 3 months in this organisation.

To apply for this PhD project please visit:

The project would be suitable for students with a 1st or upper 2nd class degree (or equivalent) in meteorology, chemistry, mathematics, physics or a closely related environmental or physical science. Strong computer and programming skills are desirable.

How good is research at University of Reading in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 75.68

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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