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Understanding changes in temperature persistence under global warming

   School of Environmental Sciences

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  Prof David Thompson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A fully-funded PhD studentship is available in the physics of climate change. The project will focus on changes in surface temperature “persistence” - or “memory” under climate change. The persistence of surface temperature is important since 1) the impacts of weather events on ecosystems and society depend critically on the length of the event and 2) recent evidence suggests that the persistence of surface temperature is likely to change under global warming. Nevertheless, the physics of such changes are not well understood. For example: Extreme temperature events are expected to last longer in many regions of the Northern Hemisphere under climate change, but the reasons for the increased persistence remain unclear. As part of your PhD you will 1) explore the evidence for changes in temperature persistence under climate change in observations and climate change simulations and 2) probe the physics of the changes using a range of theoretical tools. You will - in short - provide new insights into a problem that has key implications for understanding the impacts of climate change.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please visit the UEA website

The start date is October 2022

Entry Requirements, acceptable first degree 2:1 in Physics, Mathematics, Oceanography, Meteorology, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Geophysics or Natural Sciences.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is funded by a Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship ( Funding comprises home tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,609 (for a maximum of 46 months). Funding is available to UK candidates eligible for home tuition fees only (


i) Li, J. and D. W. J. Thompson, 2021: Widespread changes in surface temperature persistence under climate change. Nature, (published November 2021).
ii) Thompson, D. W. J., S. Bony, and Y. Li, 2017: Thermodynamic constraint on the depth of the global tropospheric circulation. Proceedings of the Nat. Acadamy of Sciences, 114, 8181-8186.
iii) Thompson, D. W. J., E. A. Barnes, C. Deser, W. E. Foust, and A. S. Phillips, 2015: Quantifying the role of internal climate variability in future climate trends. J. Climate, 28, 6443-6456.
iv) Thompson, D.W.J., J.M. Wallace, J.J. Kennedy, and P.D. Jones, 2010: An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970. Nature, 467444-447 doi:10.1038/nature09394.
v) Thompson, D.W.J., J.J. Kennedy, J.M. Wallace, and P.D. Jones, 2008: A large discontinuity in the mid-twentieth century in observed global-mean surface temperature. Nature, 453(29), doi:10.1038/nature06982.
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