Professor Jan Kaiser, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Penelope Pickers, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Alina Marca, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is by far the most significant contributor to anthropogenic climate change. The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to avoid dangerous climate change by reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Independent top-down constraints on emissions require accurate measurements of CO2 concentrations and fluxes, as well as verifiable attribution to natural and anthropogenic sources, using tools such as the isotopic fingerprint of CO2. Recent technological developments now allow the analysis of ever rarer isotopic CO2 species, called polyisotopologues, which offer novel insights into the origin and fate of atmospheric CO2.
This studentship builds on the ongoing UKRI NERC POLYGRAM project (POLYisotopologues of GReenhouse gases: Analysis and Modelling; https://polygram.ac.uk).
You will work with data from the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory (WAO), on the Norfolk coast, and generate new data to extend the geographical range of CO2 polyisotopologues for better understanding key carbon cycle processes. Specifically, the objectives of this PhD research are to:
- analyse and interpret seasonal and interannual variability of triple oxygen (16O, 17O, 18O) and stable carbon (12C, 13C) isotopes in CO2 at WAO
- quantify oxygen isotope variations in CO2 at Alice Holt Forest Research Station in Hampshire to investigate ecosystem-scale carbon cycle processes
- evaluate isotope gradients in CO2 at remote locations around the globe and from shipboard latitudinal transects across the Atlantic Ocean, as a measure of global primary productivity variations
You will join a research team at UEA, but also work with our UK collaborators and visit the University of Groningen (Netherlands). You will develop:
- proficiency in CO2 and H2O isotopologues measurements using state-of-the-art instrumentation in the field and in the laboratory
- understanding of advanced statistical analysis of time-series data, including modelling techniques
- networking skills (e.g., via the National Centre for Atmospheric Science summer school)
- presentation techniques and scientific writing skills (including conferences and peer-reviewed publications)
We seek an enthusiastic team player with strong scientific interests, self-motivation, and numerical skills. You will have at least a BSc degree in environmental sciences, physics, chemistry, natural sciences, engineering or equivalent, and a strong interest in the carbon cycle and climate change.