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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Project Title: Unravelling the sources of ice nucleating particles above Arctic sea ice

Lead Supervisor: Markus Frey, British Antarctic Survey,

Co-supervisor: Floortje van den Heuvel, British Antarctic Survey,; Amélie Kirchgässner, British Antarctic Survey,

Project Description:

The Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warming and sea ice loss, but global models currently fail to predict observed changes in sea ice thickness and extent due to signiIcant model uncertainties. The model representation of atmospheric aerosol is the largest source of uncertainty. This is because aerosol particles inguence radiative forcing and therefore climate through altering the planetary albedo. They do this both directly by absorbing and scattering sunlight and indirectly by modifying the radiative properties of clouds. The sea ice covered Arctic ocean has been proposed to be an important source of aerosol particles, however only few data exist to date to test this hypothesis. The year-long Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) provided the unique opportunity to observe aerosol processes in the central Arctic ocean during the 2019-20 season.

In this project you will analyse in the lab a subset of snow and aerosol Ilter samples collected during MOSAiC 2019-20 to determine the content of potential ice nucleating particles (INP). To do this you will use an existing otine droplet freeze assay method to quantify temperature-dependent INP concentrations. You will process and analyse your data with existing operating and analysis routines written in Python. You will then interpret your data in the context of other available MOSAiC observations to help understand if snow on sea ice represents a potentially signiIcant atmospheric source of INPs.

Project Restrictions:

Suggested length of the REP is 8 weeks with a proposed start date of 27 June (until 26 Aug). Desirable experience include previous (course) work carried out in a laboratory as well as experience with programming languages or willingness to learn as all operating and analysis routines are written in Python.

Please explain how the project can be carried out remotely and what opportunities the student will have to be integrated into the department and/or research group:

The project has a strong laboratory focus, so on-site presence for a signiIcant amount of time in the first 4-5 weeks will be required. The data processing and analysis, which follow after sample analysis can be done potentially remotely during weeks 6-8. The student will be fully integrated as member of staff during the time of placement and participate in group and programme meetings as well as science seminars. All meetings at BAS are organised in hybrid format  so allow for remote working.

Eligibility criteria

Students must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below to apply for a REP:

  • Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters). Note: students in their final year who have graduated and no longer have student status at the time the placement starts are not eligible. If the student meets the eligibility criteria (i.e., has student status) at the beginning of the placement, we would consider the eligibility criteria to be met even if the student graduates during the course of the placement.
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding, and have the right to work in the UK (for example an international student currently studying in the UK with a Tier 4 or equivalent visa that is valid for the duration of the REP)

For more information about the undergraduate summer Research Experience Placement (REP) scheme and how to apply see the REPs overview. The closing date is 27 May 2022.


The REPs programme is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.