Dr Dorothee Bakker, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Matt Jones, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
The 2020s are critical years for curbing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel use to slow the pace of climate change. Successful implementation of the Paris agreement relies on countries’ emissions being accurately known and readily available in near real-time.
Our ability to evaluate fossil fuel CO2 (ffCO2) emissions and monitor the effectiveness of emissions reduction policies is currently limited (1). ‘Bottom-up’ emissions estimates, based on inventory-style accounting and mobile tracking data, can differ significantly from each other at policy-relevant scales, while ‘top-down’ estimates, based on atmospheric measurements and modelling, have been hampered by large natural fluxes of CO2 between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere (2).
In this PhD studentship, you will quantify ffCO2 in near-real time by applying a novel method that accounts for synchronous changes in atmospheric CO2 and oxygen (O2). Using new data products of how fossil fuel combustion and natural ecosystem processes consume and emit O2 and CO2, you will disentangle the atmospheric signals of anthropogenic and natural processes (2). Working with atmospheric O2 data from the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory (https://weybourne.uea.ac.uk/), the Heathfield Tall Tower (UK), and the Heidelberg Integrated Carbon Observation System site (https://www.icos-cal.eu/crl) (Germany), you will:
- Quantify ffCO2 in urban and rural settings;
- Refine O2 and CO2 ratios at country and sub-country scales (3);
- Work towards near real-time top-down ffCO2 emissions reporting for the UK;
- Re-evaluate land and ocean carbon sink partitioning for north-western Europe and investigate regional and global carbon budget imbalances (4, 5).
- Expertise in atmospheric O2 and CO2 measurement;
- Programming (R, Python), data analysis and machine learning;
- Optional 3-6 month stay in Wellington, New Zealand, working with state of the art CarbonWatch-NZ data (https://niwa.co.nz/climate/research-projects/carbon-watch-nz);
- Attendance at summer schools, such as the National Centre for Atmospheric Science summer school (https://ncas.ac.uk/study-with-us/atmospheric-measurement-summer-school/);
- Presentations at scientific 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 degree in environmental sciences, physics, chemistry, natural sciences, engineering or equivalent, and a strong interest in the carbon cycle and climate change.