Professor Karen Heywood, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr David Moffat, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Professor Thomas Bell, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
The global oceans take up about a third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit, and about half of this uptake occurs within the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This dampens global heating so understanding air-sea CO2 exchange in the Southern Ocean is essential for predicting future climate.
While air-sea CO2 exchange through an unbroken water surface is reasonably well understood, how sea ice and whitecaps (formed via bubbles from wave breaking) affect CO2 exchange are very poorly known. Because the Southern Ocean is substantially covered by sea ice and/or whitecaps, our poor understanding of these processes limits the accuracy of current and future CO2 flux estimates.
In this project, you will make and bring together shipboard measurements over multiple years and satellite observations to better understand the relationships between gas exchange, sea ice, and whitecaps. From the UK ice breaker RRS Sir David Attenborough primarily in the Southern Ocean, you will 1) directly measure air-sea CO2 exchange using a state-of-the-art flux system, and 2) develop/improve image analysis algorithms to automate the determination of sea ice coverage and whitecaps from shipboard visible/infrared photographs. You will then combine satellite observations with the outcomes of 1) and 2) to determine the importance of sea ice and whitecaps in determining CO2 uptake by the Southern Ocean.
You will gain experience in air-sea exchange measurements and in situ as well as satellite data analysis in PML, and physical oceanography and sea ice in UEA. You will be offered the opportunity to participate, if you wish, in a research cruise. You will gain an understanding of good laboratory practice, image processing, handling of big data/Machine-Learning, presentations and scientific writing, and gain unique field experience (valuable skills in academic, industry and consultancy careers).
You will have a passion for environmental research with an aptitude to operate scientific instrumentation and analyse large volumes of data. You should be degree-level qualified in Environmental, Chemical, Marine or Atmospheric Sciences, but applications from those with other numerate degrees (e.g. Physics, Mathematics, Engineering) are also encouraged.