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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Research in the Departments of Archaeology, Chemistry, Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), Earth Sciences, Geography, Plant Sciences and at BAS includes study of physics at all levels in the atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry, climate processes, sea-level rise impacts, coastal flood and erosion hazards, palaeoclimate, solar-terrestrial processes, glaciology (land ice and sea ice), physical oceanography, carbon cycle and biogeochemistry.

The factors controlling time variability of jets in simple models will be studied, motivated by the connection between such variability and the ‘signal-to-noise’ paradox which suggests that skilful predictions can be extracted from seasonal to decadal weather and climate forecasts notwithstanding the large spread of predictions across individual ensemble members.
This project will apply a novel, cutting-edge method (dual clumped isotopes) to estimate past temperature of carbonate-bearing minerals with application to palaeoclimatology and palaeobiology.
The student will investigate redox processes in a range of environments using a novel analytical technique developed with Thermo Scientific.
The project will incorporate ice dynamics into the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) inverse problem. This will lead to better constraints on ice sheet history, along with improved GIA corrections for modern day sea level change.
The role of metastable minerals and transformations.
This project will advance understanding of how major volcanic eruptions have affected past societies combining very-high temporal resolution dendrochronological, wood anatomical and historical records.
This project will advance our understanding of deep ocean turbulent mixing mediated by wave-breaking (a key area of uncertainty for the climate) through an iterative combination of observational data analysis, high resolution numerical simulations, physical modelling and machine learning.
Investigating the role of the lower atmosphere (<50 km altitude) in causing North-South asymmetries in the polar upper atmosphere (>100 km altitude) using a state-of-the-art global climate model
How are forests respond to water stress driven by climate change? We already know from forest inventory studies that the mortality of large trees is increasing, but these studies sample just a tiny fraction of forests. Airborne laser scanning is a remarkable technology for mapping the 3D structure of forest canopies at high resolution over large spatial scales. This project will use repeated lidar surveys, alongside traditional field surveys, to map tree mortality and thereby improve understanding of the resilience of forest to climate change.
Life plays a role in many weathering processes on Earth, but how would these process operate on an abiotic planet? One way to address this question is to look for changes in weathering proxies in the geological record, synchronous with the evolution of organisms presently known to facilitate weathering processes.
This project investigates relationships between atmospheric sea salt particles from a new source associated with blowing snow and the changing sea ice environment, and then quantifies polar-region wide impacts on background aerosol, clouds and climate.
A combined experimental and modelling study to tackle the challenge of inferring the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere through analysis of biogenic compounds in ice cores.
Volcanic plumes get transformed physically and chemically once emitted in the atmosphere; the transformation they undergo affects their ability to interact with solar radiation and clouds as well as their toxicological properties.
The penetration of convective plumes into stably stratified regions of the ocean and atmosphere will be studied using numerical simulations, examining the implications for transport, mixing, and generation of gravity waves.
The project will investigate the interaction between convective clouds and their impact on the cloud spectrum with the aim to improve the representation of convection in climate models.
This studentship will use state-of-the-art computer ocean modelling to understand ocean processes and ice melting beneath floating glacial ice shelves.
We will use cutting-edge interpretable machine learning classification techniques to identify and track coherent dynamical and biogeochemical regimes in climate model data (e.g. past climates, possible future climates), and we will relate the behaviour of those regimes to specific mechanisms.
Investigate what causes surface melt on George VI Ice Shelf, Antarctica by combining high-resolution climate simulations with state of the art remote sensing techniques!
Use marine geophysical and geological datasets to examine the architecture of two major components of the West Antarctic margin and constrain the processes involved in their construction: (i) the Belgica Trough Mouth Fan, and (ii) large, deep-sea sediment drifts on the continental rise.
This project aims at reconstructing the multidecadal variability of the Atlantic Ocean's Meridional Overturning Circulation using machine learning techniques, and assessing the relative importance of natural versus anthropogenic climate drivers during the past two millennia.
Ejecta from extra-terrestrial impacts often go unrecognised in palaeoclimatic archives, yet may offer unique chronological controls to definitively tie records across broad spatial and environmental settings.
This project will address how novel fire regimes are changing the functioning of peatland ecosystems, with a focus on carbon storage and the implications for future greenhouse gas emissions.
This project will take advantage of a nutrient fertilization experiment in Brazilian tropical savanna and forest biomes to test a general theory in biogeochemistry that disturbance can shift the nutrient limitation of tropical ecosystems.
This project will investigate the effects of various types of volcanic eruptions on year-to-year and longer term temperature and hydroclimate changes at regional, continental and hemispheric scales. Development and analysis of a unique inventory of Icelandic eruptions and a global network of tree ring-based climate reconstructions for the last millennium, will allow quantification of the climatic responses to different volcanic events. Insight from the interface of paleoclimatology and volcanology (tree rings, tephra and gas emission) will be compared with climate model simulations. Direct and indirect influences of volcanic activity on climate variability and human history will be explored.
Combining measurements and modelling of volcanic ash ice nucleation to unravel the impacts on high-latitude climate.
Ocean ventilation is widely thought to have played a key role in past atmospheric CO2 change, primarily based on studies of the last deglaciation; this project seeks to revisit this paradigm by confronting it with new measurements of the ocean's ventilation state prior to the last glacial maximum, when atmospheric CO2 was already low, but the ocean was not yet in its peak glacial state state.
Mapping the evolution of the ocean's interior heat pool to assess its contribution to past global climate- and carbon cycle change.
Exciting opportunity, combining chemistry and climate science, to reconstruct past sea ice conditions using polar ice cores.
This project combines field work, analytical and experimental geochemistry to understand the mechanisms underpinning marine dolomite precipitation from Precambrian seas, and their biogeochemical and paleo-environmental implications.
This project combines fieldwork with analytical and experimental geochemistry to unravel how carbonate sediments were generated before the emergence of CaCO3 skeletons, and how the kinetics of CaCO3 mineralisation influenced Earth's early C-cycle.
Understanding the impacts of Cellulose Nanocrystals as agents in Climate Engineering to produce a cooling effect, by reflecting sunlight and by promoting the formation of clouds.
In polar regions, climate warming is accelerating glacier retreat and associated weathering processes and the goal of this project is to understand how this could influence the export of an important nutrient, iron, from subglacial continental regions to the oceans
Join this joint UK-Swiss Team investigating the melting and hydrology of glaciers across High Mountain Asia
Gas plumes produced at many basaltic volcanoes represent a major component of the global volcanic gas emissions. Assessment of the gas flux is typically carried out using spectroscopy in which the SO2 content of the plume is recorded in time at a fixed position, and this combined with the wind speed provides an estimate of the gas flux. However, there has been less focus on the dynamics of these volcanic gas plumes, which are driven by the buoyancy of the gas and the wind. In this project, we plan to compare the dynamics of these gas plumes with the classical theory of buoyant wind-driven plumes by analysis of the speed and structure of the plume. Using novel video analysis of the plumes, combined with some analogue water bath experiments of wind-blown buoyant plumes, we will develop new models to interpret the gas flux in the plumes. This new approach to measurement of the gas flux, will also enable very novel understanding of the rate of reaction of the different gas species in these plumes as they move downwind. During the PhD, the student will (i) visit several volcanoes and collect video and spectroscopic data of the gas plumes; (ii) carry out laboratory experiments of wind blown gas plumes to assess the evolving structure of the plume; (iii) analyse the volcano and experimental videos to provide new understanding of gas fluxes and of reactions with the plumes, by comparison with theoretical models of such plumes. The student will work in the Flow Laboratories of the Sustainable Fluids Centre in the Dept of Earth Sciences and the BPI, and will be supervised by Prof Marie Edmonds and Prof Andy Woods
Glaciers which flow into fjords typically release a large flux of meltwater at their base, and often this melt water is laden with sediment. The subsequent dynamics of the sediment-laden fresh melt water depends on the density stratification of the fjord water and also any settling of the sediment from the melt water. Sometimes, large sediment deposits form ahead of the glacier while in other cases, the sediment is carried to the water surface and spreads out, forming a turbid layer of water next to the fjord. The influence of the suspended particles on the dynamics of the water is complex. This project is aimed at exploring these dynamics and their influence on the fate of the sediment, as well as the controls on the associated mixing of the melt water into the fjord.
How are reactive halogens and nitrogen cycled through polar snowpacks and what can they tell us about the oxidation capacity of the atmosphere?
The student will use the latest UK model HadGEM3 to simulate the past Arctic sea ice losses. They will investigate the importance of melt ponds for the past and future loss of Arctic sea ice.