Fully Funded Studentship: Weather and Climate in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica Faculty of Science

Research Keywords: Meteorology, Oceanography, Atmospheric Physics

Deadline: 31 January 2013 for consideration in March 2013, 31 March 2013 for consideration in May 2013

Supervisory Team: Primary: Professor Ian Renfrew

The Project:

Pine Island Glacier, in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica, is one of the most intensely studied glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere because satellite-data analyses have pinpointed its ice sheet as amongst the most rapidly thinning on the continent. The role of the ocean in thinning such ice sheets and the response of the ocean to this ice melt is currently the focus of a major programme of research funded by NERC: the Ice Sheet Stability Programme, see http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/programmes/icesheet/ and http://blog.antarctica.ac.uk/istar/

This student project will examine the meteorology and climate of the Amundsen Sea Embayment, including Pine Island Glacier and the broader Amundsen-Bellinghausen Sea area, the first such study of this region for around 20 years (Jacobs and Comiso 1997). An assessment of the current generation of meteorological reanalyses and analyses will be made to establish the quality of these products for climatological studies and the forcing of ocean and glaciological models. This assessment will make use of a collection of radiosonde soundings made from a research cruise to the area. There will be the opportunity for the student to go on this cruise. It is hoped additional meteorological observations will be available from the Glacier too. Combining these new observations with archive observations from ships and automatic weather stations, an assessment of the quality of the meteorological reanalyses will be made. 

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A second component of the project will be to undertake some high-resolution numerical weather prediction modelling of Pine Island Glacier and the Amundsen Sea region. A number of ‘case studies’ of important types of weather system for the region will be simulated and analysed. For example, determining the dynamical forcing mechanisms at play and the surface exchange (heat, moisture and momentum, plus precipitation) associated with certain weather systems. It is anticipated that katabatic winds, orographic jets, polar lows and synoptic-scale cyclones could all be important. The results will help determine the quality of the reanalyses products and their ability to simulate these types of weather system. 

This project would suit applicants with a degree in Meteorology, Oceanography, Physics, Mathematics or a related subject. Training in field-based meteorology and using a numerical weather prediction model will be part of this PhD and are useful high-level skills.

Entry Requirements:

A first or upper second class UK honours degree or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology: Meteorology, Oceanography, Mathematics, Physics, Environmental Sciences and related subjects.

Funding is available to EU students. If funding is awarded for this project it will cover tuition fees and stipend for UK students. EU students may be eligible for full funding, or tuition fees only, depending on the funding source.

Making Your Application:Please apply via the University’s online application system which can be accessed by clicking the Apply link below.  To discuss the application process or particular projects, please contact the: Admissions Office, email: pgr.enquiries.admiss@uea.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1603 591709. 

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