I have two PhD projects starting in October 2017. Full funding
(fees and maintenance grant) is available to UK applicants, and
fees-only funding is available to EU citizens.
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.
A synopsis of the two funded PhD projects is below. Further
details and online application can be found by following the links.
Note the application deadline is 8 January 2017.
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 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
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
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. Successful candidates who meet RCUK's
eligibility criteria will be awarded a 3 year 8 month NERC
studentship, inclusive of Home/EU fees and funding to support research
training. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in
the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17, the
stipend was £14,296.
Apply online at www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply
Global weather and climate patterns are strongly controlled from
the tropics. For example, the extreme wet, mild winter in the UK of
2013/14 has been linked to weather activity in the "tropical warm
pool", the region of very warm ocean that extends from the Indian
Ocean eastwards into the western Pacific. The main weather system
responsible for these effects is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO;
At the heart of the warm pool lies the maritime continent, a complex
archipelago of large and small islands that includes the countries of
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. These islands
act as a physical barrier to weather systems in the region. For
example, some MJO weather systems succeed in crossing the maritime
continent, while others do not. The effects on subsequent global
weather development can be very different between these two cases.
You will determine the atmospheric and oceanic processes that
control the maritime continent barrier in climate and weather. This
will be achieved by analysis of state-of-the-art high-resolution
global observational data sets, and experiments with global climate
Training and research environment
You will join an active research group at UEA in tropical
meteorology, oceanography and climate, and will collaborate with the
tropical and global meteorology group at the National Centre for
Atmospheric Science (Climate) at University of Reading. You will be
trained in meteorological, oceanographical and climate theory, and in
the theoretical and practical aspects of climate analysis of very
large data sets (substantial in-house training, and a python Climate
Data Analysis Tools (CDAT) training workshop), and computer modelling
of weather and climate (MetUM training workshop). You will have the
opportunity to present your work at an international conference.
Is this project right for you?
We seek an enthusiastic, pro-active student with strong scientific
interests and self-motivation. You will have at least a 2.1 honours
degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography or
environmental science with good numerical ability. Experience of a
programming language such as python or matlab will be advantageous.
This project will suit an applicant intending to start a scientific
career in meteorology, oceanography or climate science.
This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC
Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East
Anglia, Essex and Kent, with twenty other research partners.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.
Successful candidates who meet RCUK's eligibility criteria will be
awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who
have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full
award. In 2016/17, the stipend was £14,296.
For further information, please visit http://www.enveast.ac.uk/apply