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Decadal Variability of Tropical Cyclones: Natural Variability or Anthropogenic Influence?

Project Description

Tropical cyclones (TCs) are one of the most damaging storms on the planet, so that it is important to understand the main environmental drivers for their variability in order to provide impact related mitigation and planning information. Global TC activity is known to undergo significant decadal variability both in terms of numbers and preferred paths (Goldenberg et al. 2001; McCarthy et al. 2015). This variability is thought to be modulated by a mixture of dynamic and thermodynamic environmental conditions. How much
environmental conditions, and associated decadal variability, have an anthropogenic influence is an important scientific question (see for instance Dunstone et al. 2013, Vincent et al. 2014) and is crucial to understanding the societal impacts of changes in TC intensity and paths (landfall).

In this PhD output from unprecedented global high resolution multi-decadal to multi-centennial simulations with state of the art global coupled climate models will be used to answer questions on the drivers of the natural variability of TCs and whether there is any evidence of anthropogenic influence. The resolution of these simulations is able to credibly simulate the structure and intensities of TCs (Roberts et al. 2015). For the first time ever, high resolution has been applied in global simulations that are long enough (decadal do centennial) to simulate decadal variability. This will entail the use of sophisticated analysis tools and the development of new methods to unpick the importance of natural variability versus anthropogenic influence in the variability of TCs.

The training opportunities offered by the studentship includes the opportunity to analyze the representation of TCs in some of the highest resolution global climate model simulations that are currently available internationally, produced by a selection of the most sophisticated global climate models (see for instance Daloz et al. 2015; Shaevitz et al. 2014), and hence to contribute to this important area of research. Secondly, the student will learn how to use advanced analysis tools with the opportunity to contribute to the development of new methods of analysis of TCs. The student will also have the possibility of learning how to run the current generation of Met Office Hadley Centre climate models. Further supervision will be provided by the CASE partner during the weekly meetings, as well as in dedicated training sessions on catastrophe modelling by the London partners of the Risk Prediction Initiative.

The project will be co-supervised by Dr Kevin Hodges (Department of Meteorology, Reading) and Dr Sielke Dierer (AXIS Capital, Zürich)

The full project description is available at http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/pg-research/vidale_2016.pdf

Funding Notes

This project is for students with their own funding. The project involves collaboration with AXIS Capital (Zurich) and additional support from the Risk Prevention Initiative (Bermuda and London) who will also provide on-site training in operational catastrophe modelling at their offices in London.

This project would be suitable for a student with a degree in meteorology, physics, mathematics or a closely
related environmental or physical science and some experience of computing and programming.

To apply for this PhD project please visit View Website


See project description for full references.

How good is research at University of Reading in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 75.68

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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