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The formation of ice in clouds over the tropical Atlantic

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Ben Murray
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

We seek an ambitious individual to model the interaction between tropical Atlantic clouds and aerosol particles. Clouds, their radiative properties and precipitation are sensitive to the presence of rare particles which are capable of triggering the formation of ice crystals. These special particles are known as ice nucleating particles (INPs), but their abundance, identity and distribution in the atmosphere is very poorly constrained. In convective clouds which form over the tropical Atlantic the concentration of ice crystals tends to be very high, but why this is so is unclear. Desert dust is an important global INP type, but it may not be able to nucleate ice at sufficiently warm temperatures that it could account for the observed ice. Marine organic INP associated with sea spray might be responsible, but this possibility is yet to be explored quantitatively. As part of the MarineIce project, a large ERC funded grant focused on what causes ice nucleation in marine clouds, you will be ideally positioned to improve our understanding.

In this PhD project your overall objective is to understand the interaction of aerosol particles with tropical maritime convective clouds and the impact of those clouds on aerosol distributions. In order to achieve this you will examine:
o the hypothesis that marine biogenic ice nucleating particles control ice formation in tropical convective clouds, rather than desert dust as traditionally thought.
o how the desert dust aerosol is re-distributed and removed from the atmosphere.
o to what extent efficient ice nucleating particles from sea spray and deserts dusts are preferentially removed from the atmosphere by cloud.
o if other ice nucleating particle types are important in these clouds, such as biological material associated with soil/desert dust.

Funding Notes

This award will fund a UK/EU candidate for up to 3.5 years and will include tuition fees, stipend at the UK research council rate, and research costs. The commencement date for the award can be at any time this year.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 79.20

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