This funded PhD project is part of a £2M European Research Council (ERC) Advanced grant to study how gaseous ozone (O3) interacts with the ocean surface or “sea surface microlayer” (SML). The highly interdisciplinary study involves aspects of physical chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, ocean chemistry and biology, and engineering. The overall theme is to unify observations of the ocean surface from above, within and below, offering insight into this complex yet sparsely studied interface and applying this knowledge to the atmosphere.
Tropospheric ozone is a significant climate gas, in addition to having a major influence on air quality, public health, and on food security and ecosystem viability. Dry deposition of O3 to the Earth’s surface is estimated to account for about a quarter of overall tropospheric O3 removal. However, losses to the ocean surface, believed to be the largest single deposition sink, are highly uncertain with very poor knowledge of the mechanistic details.
This PhD project will probe the fundamental mechanisms on and in the ocean surface involved in the loss of O3. It will focus in particular on measuring O3 uptake via a flow reactor in different waters ranging from coastal to remote oceanic and characterising this uptake with the molecular and/or bulk composition of seawater. You will participate in at least two research cruises, with the first sailing from the UK to South America. On these cruises, you will measure O3 uptake and associated biogeochemical parameters and compare these results to concurrent atmospheric O3 flux measurements made by an additional member of the team.
You will be based in the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories in the Department of Chemistry and be supervised by Prof Lucy Carpenter. Applications from candidates with a strong background in chemistry, physics or environmental science are encouraged. Willingness to learn about biomolecules and their behaviour, and to handle diverse experimental techniques, will be indispensable.
All research students follow our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills. The core training package provides both a grounding in the skills required for their research, and transferable skills to enhance employability opportunities following graduation. Core training is progressive and takes place at appropriate points throughout a student’s higher degree programme, with the majority of training taking place in Year 1. In conjunction with the Core training, students, in consultation with their supervisor(s), select training related to the area of their research.
Training specific to the project will include in gas handling, kinetic and surface studies, and in analytical techniques including mass spectrometry, cyclic voltammetry, tensiometry, and spectrophotometry. WACL has significant technical support including an Experimental Officer and two technicians, and you will also be supported in your project by postdoctoral research associates working on related studies.
The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. The Department strives to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel: https://www.york.ac.uk/chemistry/ed/
This PhD will formally start on 1 October 2020. Induction activities will start on 28 September.