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What causes ozone depletion events and bromine explosions in the polar atmosphere? (KAISERUENV21ARIES)

School of Environmental Sciences

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Prof Jan Kaiser No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Background & Objectives:

Global warming has led to large reductions in polar sea-ice extent over the past 40 years. Substantial parts of the ocean that used to be covered by multi-year sea ice in summer are now open, releasing primary aerosol through waves and bubble bursting. Also, gas exchange is significantly faster and algal blooms lead to the production of gases and aerosol particles. The gases and particles that are released are important for atmospheric chemistry and climate.

So-called "Ozone Depletion Events" (ODEs) are frequent spring-time phenomena in the polar lower atmosphere. During ODEs, bromide from sea ice is released as Br that reacts quickly with tropospheric ozone (O3), a process known as bromine explosion. This often leads to the complete destruction of O3. Even though bromine explosions have been studied for over three decades, the exact details of their initiation and the nature of the reactive bromine sources are still unclear.

Frost flowers on sea-ice and precipitation of a particular mineral (ikaite) are possible key factors. The UEA Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber (RvG-ASIC) will be used to simulate these processes under controlled conditions and for the first time explicitly demonstrate their relevance.


You will use state-of-the art methods and instruments to measure concentrations and fluxes of gases and particles above snow and ice in the RvG-ASIC facility. In addition, there is the possibility to deploy instruments during a BAS polar field campaign You will interpret your observations with a numerical model to quantitatively understand the laboratory experiments and contrast them with existing or new field observations, with the ultimate goal to improve global chemistry-climate models.


You will be part of a dynamic research team at UEA (COAS) and BAS (AIC), working on a wide range of environmental topics in the polar regions. You will be trained in the relevant instruments and sampling techniques, modelling and fieldwork. You will attend an atmospheric sciences summer school and receive support to publish results in peer-reviewed journals and at international conferences.


Degree in chemistry, physics or related Earth/environmental sciences, with experience in experimental work and good numerical skills.

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

This is a PhD programme.

The start date is 1st October 2021.

The mode of study is full or part time (visa restrictions may apply).

The studentship length is 3.5 years.

Funding Notes:

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP.

Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria are awarded a NERC studentship covering fees, stipend (£15,285 p.a., 2020-21) and research funding. International applicants (EU/non-EU) are eligible for fully-funded studentships. Please note ARIES funding does not cover visa costs (including immigration health surcharge) or other additional costs associated with relocation to the UK.

Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses.

ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside significant relevant non-academic experience.

For further information, please visit

Funding Notes

Entry Requirements: Acceptable first degree in Chemistry, Physics or related Earth/Environmental Science.


1. Thomas, M., Vancoppenolle, M., France, J. L., Sturges, W. T., Bakker, D. C. E., Kaiser, J. and von Glasow, R. (2020) Tracer measurements in growing sea ice support convective gravity drainage parameterisations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 125: e2019JC015791 10.1029/2019jc015791

2. Björkman, M. P., Vega, C. P., Kühnel, R., Spataro, F., Ianniello, A., Esposito, G., Kaiser, J., Marca, A., Hodson, A., Isaksson, E. and Roberts, T. J. (2014) Nitrate postdeposition processes in Svalbard surface snow. Journal of Geophysical Research 119: 12953–12976 10.1002/2013JD021234

3. Frey, M. M., Norris, S. J., Brooks, I. M., Anderson, P. S., Nishimura, K., Yang, X., Jones, A. E., Nerentorp Mastromonaco, M. G., Jones, D. H. and Wolff, E. W. (2020) First direct observation of sea salt aerosol production from blowing snow above sea ice. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 20: 2549-2578 10.5194/acp-20-2549-2020

4. Simpson, W. R., Glasow, R. v., Riedel, K., Anderson, P., Ariya, P., Bottenheim, J., Burrows, J., Carpenter, L. J., Frieß, U., Goodsite, M. E., Heard, D. E., Hutterli, M., Jacobi, H. W., Kaleschke, L., Neff, B., Plane, J., Platt, U., Richter, A., Roscoe, H., Sander, R., Shepson, P., Sodeau, J., Steffen, A., Wagner, T. and Wolff, E. W. (2007) Halogens and their role in polar boundary-layer ozone depletion. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 7: 4375-4418

5. Jones, A. E., Anderson, P. S., Wolff, E. W., Roscoe, H. K., Marshall, G. J., Richter, A., Brough, N. and Colwell, S. R. (2010) Vertical structure of Antarctic tropospheric ozone depletion events: characteristics and broader implications. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10: 7775-7794 10.5194/acp-10-7775-2010
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