I have two funded PhD projects starting in October 2018. Full funding
(fees and maintenance grant) is available to UK applicants, and
fees-only funding is available to EU citizens.
Further details and online
application can be found by following the links.
Additionally, I always welcome enquiries from potential PhD students,
particularly from applicants with external funding; recent PhD
students have been funded by Commonwealth University fellowships, the
Ford Foundation and studentships from their home countries.
Figure 1. Maps showing the eastward progression of rainfall (red colours) across Indonesia associated with the passage of a convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin wave.
Selected other project supervisors:
Dr Manoj Joshi (UEA)
Dr Ben Webber (UEA)
Dr Darek Baranowski (University of Warsaw)
Extreme weather in the tropics, particularly in the form of heavy rainfall and strong winds, can affect the livelihoods of the local population through flooding, landslides and impacts on agriculture and local infrastructure. Extreme weather in the tropics is controlled to a large part by waves in the tropical atmosphere (Figure 1). These waves are the response of the tropical atmosphere to fluctuations in the large-scale tropical circulation and rainfall patterns; effectively the natural or normal modes of the tropical atmosphere, rather like standing waves or harmonics are the normal modes of a guitar string. So-called "convectively-coupled equatorial waves" are one example that combine tropical atmospheric waves with tropical atmospheric convection (i.e. thunderstorms). These tropical waves are predictable up to a few days ahead, and are one of the few sources of predictability in the tropical atmosphere.
Although the broad features of these tropical waves are known, their impact on extreme weather is not; this represents a major gap in our understanding of tropical weather.
You will determine the effect of tropical waves on extreme weather in the tropics. Initially, this will involve analysis of state-of-the-art satellite data sets that measure rainfall every 3 hours across the whole tropics. You will then conduct sets of experiments with an atmospheric climate model to determine what factors generate and influence these tropical waves.
Training and research environment
You will join an active research group at UEA in tropical meteorology and climate. You will be trained in meteorological and climate theory, and in the theoretical and practical aspects of meteorological analysis of very large data sets, and computer modelling of weather and climate. You will have the opportunity to present your work at national and international conferences. There may also be an opportunity to take part in the international Equatorial Line Observations field campaign in Sumatra and Borneo in 2018/19, which is focussed on understanding the mechanisms of tropical waves.
We seek an enthusiastic, pro-active student with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. You will have a degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography or environmental science with good numerical ability.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with over twenty other research partners. Undertaking a PhD with the EnvEast DTP will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by EnvEast on 12/13 February 2018.
Selected candidates who meet RCUK's eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553. Ordinarily, EnvEast studentships are for 3.5 years, although longer awards may be made to applicants from quantitative disciplines who have limited experience in the environmental sciences, to allow them to take appropriate advanced-level courses in the subject area.
In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.
This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).
Baranowski DB, Flatau MK, Flatau PJ, Matthews AJ, 2016: Impact of atmospheric convectively-coupled Kelvin waves on upper ocean variability. J. Geophys. Res., 121, 2045-2059. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JD024150)
Joshi M, Stringer M, van der Wiel K, O'Callaghan A, Blackburn M, Fueglistaler S, 2014: IGCM4: A fast, parallel and flexible intermediate climate model. Geosci. Model Develop. Disc., 7, 5517-5545. (http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/gmdd-7-5517-2014)
Matthews AJ, Pickup G, Peatman SC, Clews P, Martin J, 2013: The effect of the Madden-Julian Oscillation on station rainfall and river level in the Fly River system, Papua New Guinea. J. Geophys. Res., 118, 10926-10935. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgrd.50865)
Wheeler M, Weickmann KM, 2001: Real-time monitoring and prediction of modes of coherent synoptic to intraseasonal tropical variability. Mon. Weath. Rev., 129, 2677-2694. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493(2001)129%3c2677:RTMAPO%3e2.0.CO;2)
Yang GY, Hoskins BJ, Slingo JM, 2007: Convectively coupled equatorial waves. Part I: Horizontal and vertical structures. J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 3406-3423. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1175%2FJAS4017.1)
Figure 2. Optimally interpolated temperature (°C) on 3 December
2011, measured by a Seaglider in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The
vertical lines show the individual glider profiles. The development
of a surface diurnal warm layer during the afternoon can clearly be
seen. Adapted from Matthews et al. (2014).
The detailed vertical structure of the ocean near its surface has a
major impact on how the ocean exchanges heat and momentum with the
atmosphere, which then affects weather and climate. However, this
near-surface structure is difficult to measure accurately with
conventional oceanographic observations. The recent proliferation in
the use of ocean gliders has provided a potential new data source of
these near-surface measurements. Gliders are ideally suited to
measure near-surface ocean characteristics, as they are streamlined
and free flying, and do not disturb the delicate near-surface
structures they are attempting to measure. For example, recent glider
observations in the Indian Ocean have revealed the detailed structures
of diurnally formed surface warm layers (Figure 2) in the upper few
metres of the ocean. However, gliders are normally ballasted and
optimised for flight at mid-depths. Together with the standard
parameters used for surface manoeuvres at the beginning and end of
each dive, the glider flight characteristics are sub-optimal for
obtaining the best possible near-surface measurements. This project
will investigate the effect of optimising glider flight
characteristics on the quality of near-surface measurements.
The student will liaise with all glider missions run out of UEA and
SAMS during the project. Once each glider is correctly trimmed and is
gathering high quality data, a small number of dives will be used to
evaluate the improvement in near-surface data to changes in a number
of glider flight parameters (associated with general flight and
near-surface manoeuvres). A glider mission typically generates
500-1000 dives, so this will not be detrimental to the overall
mission. The student will also be part of the piloting team in each
of these missions. In parallel, the student will use the large data
base of glider dives already generated by the UEA and SAMS glider
groups, to evaluate the effect of glider flight parameter changes on
near-surface data quality from historical missions. A set of
recommendations will be developed, to optimise both near-surface
measurements but at minimal cost to the quality of deeper
measurements. The science questions to be addressed are the formation
of surface diurnal warm layers, barrier layers, and near-surface
mixing processes, and their impact on ocean-atmosphere fluxes.
The NEXUSS CDT provides state-of-the-art, highly experiential
training in the application and development of cutting-edge Smart and
Autonomous Observing Systems for the environmental sciences, alongside
comprehensive personal and professional development. There will be
extensive opportunities for students to expand their
multi-disciplinary outlook through interactions with a wide network of
academic, research and industrial / government / policy partners. The
student will be registered and hosted in the Centre for Ocean and
Atmospheric Sciences (COAS) at UEA in Norwich but will spend time
based at SAMS in Oban working with engineers to share best practice
for glider operations. Specific training will include:
- ocean glider piloting, operation, and data analysis
- oceanography, ocean dynamics, ocean physics
- computing and processing of large data sets
- seagoing and marine data collection skills
- use of glider hydrodynamical models use for optimising glider flight characteristics and near-surface measurements
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the NEXUSS Centre for
Doctoral Training. Undertaking a PhD with the NEXUSS CDT will involve
attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the
PhD. Selected candidates who meet RCUK's eligibility criteria will be
awarded a NERC/EPSRC studentship; in 2017/18, the stipend is £
14,553. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in
the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident
applicants NERC/EPSRC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG
and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual
institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own
resources. This PhD studentship is expected to begin in
September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are
possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this
with the supervisor before applying).
Matthews AJ, Baranowski DB, Heywood KJ, Flatau PJ, Schmidtko S,
2014: The surface diurnal warm layer in the Indian Ocean during
CINDY/DYNAMO. J. Climate, 27, 9101-9122.
Webber BGM, Matthews AJ, Heywood KJ, Kaiser J, Schmidtko S, 2014:
Seaglider observations of equatorial Indian Ocean Rossby waves
associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation.J. Geophys. Res., 119,
Queste BY, Fernand L, Jickells TD, Heywood KJ, Hind AJ, 2016:
Drivers of summer oxygen depletion in the central North Sea.
Biogeosci., 13, 1209-1222.
Dale AC, Barth JA, Levine MD, Austin JA, 2008: Observations of
mixed layer restratification by onshore surface transport following
wind reversal in a coastal upwelling region.
J. Geophys. Res. (Oceans), 113, C01010, doi: 10.1029/2007JC004128