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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Supervisors: Alexander Archibald (Chemistry), John Pyle (Chemistry) and Rowan Sutton (University of Reading)

Importance of the area of research:

Major changes are occurring across the North Atlantic (NA) Climate System: in ocean and atmosphere temperatures and circulation, in sea ice thickness and extent, and in key atmospheric constituents such as ozone, methane and aerosols (Kirschke et al., 2013). Many changes observed in recent decades are unprecedented in instrumental records. Changes in the NA directly affect the UK’s climate, weather and air quality, with major economic impacts on agriculture, fisheries, water, energy, transport and health. The NA also has global importance, since changes here drive changes in climate, hazardous weather and air quality further afield.

Because of the many processes involved, and our lack of understanding of their interactions, there are very large uncertainties in forecasting future changes in the NA. We need to understand better: How and why the system is changing and what changes should we expect in future? These are urgent questions for the future prosperity of the UK.

Project summary:

ACSIS will understand the important role of changes in ozone in the NA climate system and changes in the NA climate system on ozone. To do this the student will be involved in the collection and interpretation of new observations of changes in ozone and other trace gases over the NA using the UK research aircraft and they will confront model simulations with these data to validate the latest generation of Earth system models. Model experiments will be performed to assess the impacts of (i) changes in emissions of ozone precursors from fracking in the USA on ozone in the NA (ii) an ice free arctic (iii) changes in sea surface temperature associated with the NA “cold” blob (Robson et al., 2016).

What the student will do:

The student will use a new Earth system model, UKESM-1, to study composition-climate interactions, validating the model results against a wide array of observations from satellites, aircraft and in situ observations collected on-board the UK research aircraft ( They will perform a series of experiments that perturb ozone precursor emissions as well as physical climate/processes. The difference between simulations with and without perturbations can be used to then study their impacts. They will take part in the collection of new observations of ozone and it's precursors over the North Atlantic ocean in the NERC research aircraft (FAAM BAe-146).

Please contact the lead supervisor directly for further information relating to what the successful applicant will be expected to do, training to be provided, and any specific educational background requirements.


Kirschke et al., 2013. Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1955

Robson et al., 2016. Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2727

Sutton et al., 2017. BAMS, DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0266.1

Follow this link to find out about applying for this project.

Other projects available from the Lead Supervisor can be viewed here.

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