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Instrumentation for Earth Observation and Climate Studies (astronomy)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Hargrave
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Cirrus clouds play a crucial role in the global climate system, in that they reflect near-infrared radiation back to space, whilst reflecting thermal emission from the Earth’s surface back to Earth. The understanding of these processes is critical in order to constrain global climate circulation models. In order to observe cloud ice from space, a far-infrared radiometer can be placed above the cirrus cloud layer to observe pwardly emitted radiation from water vapour in the mid-troposphere. Scattering of a fraction of this radiation back toward the ground reduces the brightness temperature of the observed regions relative to clear sky. Analyses of these data will allow the recovery of fundamental ice-cloud parameters with which we can constrain global climate models. Traditionally, the instruments proposed for these ice-cloud studies have been based on scanning radiometers, with single-pixel heterodyne receivers,
and limited frequency range. The Astronomy Instrumentation Group has a world-leading reputation for detector and instrument development. One technology, invented in Cardiff, is a new variant of the Kinetic Inductance Detector (KID). We have successfully developed large arrays of these devices and demonstrated them on ground based astronomical observatories. A proposal has been developed to look at the feasibility of using arrays of KID detectors in a new instrument concept for Earth Observation applications.
This project will involve the design, development and modelling of new instrument concepts for ice cloud studies, based on arrays of KIDs. The student will work alongside instrumentation specialists developing and testing detectors for Earth observation as part of the SPACEKIDS project (http://www.spacekids.eu/). The student will also work with atmospheric scientists based at the UK Met Office,
University of Gothenburg, and the University of Hamburg on developing the predictions of the scientific performance for such an instrument. The target of such an instrument design will be an aircraft-based demonstration experiment, as a precursor to a satellite-based instrument, and the design process has to take into account the difficulties of placing an instrument in such
environments. The student will develop experimental skills such as cryogenic design, detector testing and evaluation, radiometry, and expertise in many other areas of physics and atmospheric science.

Funding Notes

This project is available to students applying for funded PhD studentships and may be altered or amended.
Studentships will be awarded to successful applicants from all applications received. Applicants must satisfy RCUK residency rules for the full studentship.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 19.50

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