Professor David Stevens, University of East Anglia
Professor Kjetil Vage, University of Bergen
Professor Thomas Spengler, University of Bergen
Arctic climate change and the associated sea-ice retreat are having significant impacts on both the atmosphere, the ocean and their interactions. Atmosphere-ocean surface heat exchange is highest during cold-air outbreaks and high surface wind speeds and thus often associated with mesoscale weather systems such as barrier winds, polar lows, and tip jets, embedded within cold-air masses. As sea-ice retreats, the location of the highest heat fluxes also retreats, which is now contributing to changes in the atmospheric forcing of the Greenland and Iceland Seas and along the major ocean currents of the Nordics Seas, with ramifications for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The challenge for this project is determine likely future changes in these mesoscale weather systems and assess their impact on the coupled climate system.
The aim of the project is to quantify the impact of high windspeed events on atmosphere-ocean interactions with particular focus on long-term changes in their impact, given sea-ice retreat and changes in the ocean circulation. Specifically:
- Investigate the structure and characteristics of barrier winds off East Greenland using new wintertime observations from a research cruise.
- Carry out numerical weather prediction simulations of barrier wind case studies with the observed sea-ice distribution and with synthesised future sea-ice distributions; examine the impacts on barrier wind structure and associated surface turbulent fluxes.
- Examine the frequency, characteristics and ocean mixed-layer impacts of barrier winds and tip jets in current and future climates via time-slice comparisons from state-of-the-art climate model simulations.
You will have the opportunity to take part in a Norwegian-led research cruise of the western Iceland and Greenland Seas in late winter 2025 and contribute to the observational programme.
You will have training in using a state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction model – the Met Office Unified Model – and in the use and analyses of the latest climate model output.
A degree in Meteorology, Oceanography, Physics, Maths or a similar quantitative science. An interest in data analysis and numerical modelling is essential, while some experience in coding is desirable.