Professor Karen Heywood (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
Dr Xiaoming Zhai (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
The Southern Ocean is a critical component of the global climate system, accounting for about 75% of ocean heat uptake and 40% of ocean anthropogenic carbon uptake. Winter Water, the remnant of the previous winter’s mixed layer, represents a snapshot of previous winter’s interaction between ocean, ice and atmosphere. Despite its importance, processes responsible for Winter Water formation are not thought to be well represented in current Earth System Models. The aim of this project is to assess Winter Water and its variability, in both newly-available Southern Ocean observational data sets and the UK’s climate models, determine the underlying physical mechanisms, and test Winter Water layer depth as a metric to assess Earth System Model performance.
You will join a productive research team of climate modellers and physical oceanographers at UEA and the Met Office in Exeter (CASE partner). You will analyse Winter Water temperature, salinity and depth in observations from tagged seals, research ships and Argo floats. You will assess the performance of the UK’s climate models at different resolutions and with different mixing parameterizations in simulating Winter Water and its variability. You will use simplified models to investigate the key physical processes responsible for Winter Water formation, e.g. air-sea interaction, sea ice formation/melting and eddy subduction. You will test the hypothesis that Winter Water depth is a more robust indicator than mixed layer depth of Earth System Model performance.
This project will provide you with a thorough training in data analysis, numerical modelling, ocean dynamics and air-sea interactions. Researchers at UEA regularly lead and take part in field campaigns and we anticipate that you will participate in a Southern Ocean research cruise to gain oceanographic observational expertise. There will also be opportunities for you to attend summer schools.
We seek an enthusiastic candidate with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. They will have a degree in physics, mathematics, oceanography, meteorology, or climate science with good numerical skills.