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What are the drivers and impacts of ocean and climate variability for Caribbean Islands? (STEVENSDU20SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Stevens
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The Caribbean Small Island Developing States face a variety of impacts from climate variability and climate change. The Caribbean Sea surface temperatures change from year to year due to both natural variability (for example associated with El Niño or the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) and anthropogenically forced climate change. Anomalously warm years can lead to an early start to the rainfall season, coral bleaching and more hurricanes or more intense hurricanes. In cooler years the start of the rainfall season is delayed. Both flooding and drought are a risk. Damage to corals can impact biodiversity, fisheries, tourism, and weaken the defence they provide against stormy seas.

You will analyse observations of sea surface temperature, winds, rainfall and other key variables to determine the main patterns of climate variability that impact the Caribbean. You will assess how well these observed patterns are represented in a range of state-of-the-art climate models. You will use the model output to determine the key drivers of variability and determine any processes leading to model deficiencies. You will use model projections of future climate to understand how these patterns of climate variability might change.

You will join an active research group at UEA (which includes the Cefas Collaborative Centre for Sustainable use of the Seas) in meteorology, oceanography and climate. You will be trained in modelling the climate system and you will learn to use state-of-the-art computer systems to rigorously analyse large climate model datasets.

The project may be available to start at a later date but this should be discussed with David Stevens in the first instance.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD programme.

The start date of the project is 1 October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time. The studentship length is 3 years.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

Entry requirements

Acceptable first degree in Mathematics, Physics, Meteorology, or Oceanography

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.


i) Handoh, I.C., A.J. Matthews, G.R. Bigg, D.P Stevens (2006): Interannual Variability of the tropical Atlantic independent of and associated with ENSO: Part I. The north tropical Atlantic, International Journal of Climatology, 26, 1937-1956, doi:10.1002/joc.1343

ii) Shaffrey, L.C., D. Hodson, J. Robson, D.P. Stevens, E. Hawkins, I. Polo, I. Stevens, R.T. Sutton, G. Lister, A. Iwi, D. Smith and A. Stephens (2017): Decadal Predictions with the HiGEM High Resolution Global Coupled Climate Model: Description and Basic Evaluation, Climate Dynamics, 48, 297-311, doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3075-x

iii) Dye, S., P. Buckley, and J. Pinnegar (2017) Impacts of Climate Change on the Coastal and Marine Physical Environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card: Science Review 2017, 1-9.

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