The dynamics and thermodynamics of convectively coupled equatorial waves


The dynamics and thermodynamics of convectively coupled equatorial waves


Project Description


Professor Adrian Matthews, University of East Anglia – Contact me

Professor Manoj Joshi, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Professor David Stevens, School of Mathematics, University of East Anglia

Scientific background

Extreme weather in the tropics is often linked with organised weather systems such as the well-known tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons) and other, less well-known systems such as “convectively coupled equatorial waves” (CCEWs; Latos et al., 2021, 2023). Whereas the dynamics (internal mechanisms) of tropical cyclones are well understood and therefore generally well predicted, the dynamics of CCEWs are still rather unclear, and hence predictions of severe weather associated with them can have significant errors (Senior et al., 2023). This project will build on recent work by the project supervisors (Matthews, 2021) to discover the main physical mechanisms that govern the development of CCEWs.

Research methodology

You will run a series of experiments using the IGCM4 climate model (Joshi et al., 2015) to determine the propagation and growth mechanisms of CCEWs. You will analyse the structure of CCEWs using the vorticity budget model of Matthews (2021) and will extend this model to include an assessment of the thermodynamical temperature and moisture structures of the CCEWs. Starting with the simplest possible conditions and building up to a fully realistic climate, you will determine how the background climatic conditions across the tropics affect the CCEWs, and how this will impact their predictability in weather forecasts.


You will join an active research group at UEA in tropical meteorology and climate.  You will be trained in meteorological and climate theory, and in meteorological analysis of very large data sets, and computer modelling of weather and climate.  You will have the opportunity to present your work at national and international conferences.

Person specification

We seek an enthusiastic, pro-active individual with strong scientific interests and self-motivation.  You will have a degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography or environmental science. Prior experience of programming is desirable.


  • 1 Matthews AJ, 2021: Dynamical propagation and growth mechanisms for convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves over the Indian Ocean. Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., 147, 4310-4336, doi: 10.1002/qj.4179.
  • 2 Latos B, Peyrille P, Lefort T, Baranowski DB, Flatau MK, Flatau PJ, Florida Riama N, Permana DS, Rydbeck AV, Matthews AJ, 2023: The role of tropical waves in the genesis of Tropical Cyclone Seroja in the Maritime Continent. Nature Comm., 14, 856, doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36498-w.Latos B, Peyrille P, Lefort T, Baranowski DB, Flatau MK, Flatau PJ, Florida Riama N, Permana DS, Rydbeck AV, Matthews AJ, 2023: The role of tropical waves in the genesis of Tropical Cyclone Seroja in the Maritime Continent. Nature Comm., 14, 856, doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36498-w.
  • 3 Latos B, Lefort T, Flatau MK, Flatau PJ, Permana DS, Baranowski CB, Paski JAI, Makmur E, Sulystyo K, Peyrille P, Feng Z, Matthews AJ, Schmidt JM, 2021: Equatorial waves triggering extreme rainfall and floods in southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia. Mon. Weath. Rev., 149, 1381-1401, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-20-0262.1.
  • 4 Joshi M, Stringer M, Van der Wiel K, O’Callaghan A, Fueglistaler S, 2015: IGCM4: a fast, parallel and flexible intermediate climate model. Geosci. Model Develop., 8, 1157-1167, doi: 10.5194/gmd-8-1157-2015.
  • 5 Senior NV, Matthews AJ, Webber BGM, Webster S, Jones RW, Permana DS, Paski JAI, Fadila R, 2023: Extreme precipitation at Padang, Sumatra triggered by convectively coupled Kelvin waves. Quart J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., doi: 10.1002/qj.4506

Key Information

  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP and will start on 1st October 2024. The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 10th January 2024.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship, which covers fees, stipend (£18,622 p.a. for 2023/24) and research funding. International applicants are eligible for fully-funded ARIES studentships including fees. Please note however that ARIES funding does not cover additional costs associated with relocation to, and living in, the UK. We expect to award between 4 and 6 studentships to international candidates in 2024.
  • ARIES students benefit from bespoke graduate training and ARIES provides £2,500 to every student for access to external training, travel and conferences, on top of all Research Costs associated with the project. Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses.
  • ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside non-academic experience, and our recruitment process considers potential with the same weighting as past experience.
  • All ARIES studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding.
  • For further information, please contact the supervisor. To apply for this Studentship follow the instructions at the bottom of the page or click the 'apply now' link.
  • ARIES is required by our funders to collect Equality and Diversity Information from all of our applicants. The information you provide will be used solely for monitoring and statistical purposes; it will remain confidential, and will be stored on the UEA sharepoint server. Data will not be shared with those involved in making decisions on the award of Studentships, and will have no influence on the success of your application. It will only be shared outside of this group in an anonymised and aggregated form. You will be ask to complete the form by the University to which you apply.
  • ARIES funding is subject to UKRI terms and conditions. Postgraduate Researchers are expected to live within reasonable distance of their host organisation for the duration of their studentship. See for more information

Applications open

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