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Arctic Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Processes


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 14 April 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
External organisation
Professor Ian Brooks and Dr Ryan Neely III
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Arctic climate is changing far faster than the global mean, but is poorly represented in climate models, which struggle even to reproduce recent observed changes. A major challenge is the representation of small-scale processes in the boundary layer - the lowest layer of the atmosphere, which connects the surface and low-level clouds.<br /> <br /> The MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) project is the largest Arctic research programme ever undertaken. The icebreaker Polarstern was frozen into the sea ice in October 2019, and allowed to drift with it for a full year. Over 400 scientists worked on board, and on the sea ice, to make measurements of all components of the Arctic climate system. Many others contributed coordinated measurements at other sites, or remotely, working with satellite data and models. A core part of the project was the atmospheric science programme, making detailed measurements of meteorology, turbulent processes, clouds, aerosols, and gas-phase chemistry.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This project offers an opportunity to work as part of an international team on measurements of the atmospheric boundary layer. You will work closely with world-leading experts in boundary layer processes, clouds, remote sensing, and modelling of the atmosphere, to study the processes that control the surface energy budget over Arctic sea ice. These include turbulent processes, boundary-layer thermodynamic structure, and interaction with clouds; measurements include direct the thermodynamic structure from towers on the ice and radiosondes, turbulent fluxes of heat and momentum, active remote sensing of winds and retrievals of turbulent properties from Doppler lidar, sodar, and cloud radar, retrievals of thermodynamic structure from scanning radiometers, and multi-instrument retrievals of cloud properties. Analysis of the observations will be conducted in conjunction with modelling of specific case studies.</p> <p>During your PhD you will lead the research for, and writing of, multiple research articles in leading scientific journals. You will have the valuable opportunity to work closely with members of the research team at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of Colorado in Boulder, and with other project partners around the world.</p> <p>The successful applicant will have access to a broad spectrum of specialist training in meteorology and climate science, in addition to the extensive University of Leeds workshops on a range of topics, including scientific programming through to managing your research degree, the potential to attend international training programmes, and opportunities to spend time working with the project partners in Boulder, Colorado. Applicants will hold a good first degree (first or high 2.1) or Master&rsquo;s degree in physics, maths, Earth science, climate science, computer science, Earth observation or a related discipline. We welcome applications from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with non-traditional&nbsp;qualifications or from industry &ndash; please contact <a href="">Prof Ian Brooks</a> ( to discuss the project or your suitability for the programme.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is Arctic Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Processes as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Ian Brooks</a> as your proposed supervisor.&nbsp;</p> <p>Please also state clearly that the funding you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;The School of Earth and Environment Doctoral Scholarship&rdquo;. You will be expected to meet our&nbsp;<a href="">eligibility criteria&nbsp;</a>for PhD candidates.</p> <p>Applications will remain open until a suitable candidate is found, with an initial evaluation made of application received by <strong>22nd&nbsp;January 2022.</strong></p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the PGR Admissions team prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px">Information about the Award</p> <ul> <li>We are offering 1 full-time PHD scholarship in the School of Earth and Environment for one UK candidate, covering a maintenance grant of matching UKRI maintenance stipend (currently &pound;17,668 in 2022/23) and UK&nbsp;tuition fees for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.&nbsp;The award is available for an immediate start.</li> </ul> <p>Duration of the Award</p> <ul> <li>Full-time (3 years). The award will be made for one year in the first instance and renewable for a further period of up to two years, subject to satisfactory academic progress.</li> </ul> <p>Other Conditions</p> <ul> <li>Applicants must not have already been awarded or be currently studying for a doctoral degree.</li> <li>Awards must be taken up as soon as possible.</li> </ul> <p>Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this scholarship.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the PGR Admissions team or Professor Ian Brooks:&nbsp;</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>