February 2010
Message 69

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[Met-jobs] PhD studentship available: British Antarctic Survey / University of Sheffield

From "Abram, Nerilie" <>
To "" <>
Date Thu, 18 Feb 2010 17:32:50 +0000

Annual layer counting in ice cores:  developing new statistical methodology


This studentship will address the critical issue of accurate ice core dating by developing an objective, automated method for establishing layer-counted chronologies, and their uncertainty.


The student will join internationally-recognised research teams at the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Sheffield, and will work at the forefront of efforts to combine the iconic palaeoclimate records produced from ice cores with a statistically-robust dating method. The outcomes of this project will be of immediate benefit to the international ice core community, and will also have direct applications for other palaeoclimate fields that use sub-annually resolved, multivariate datasets.


The objectives of this PhD project will be to:

·           Develop new model-based statistical methods to count annual layers in univariate ice core data, leading to estimated counts that are reproducible and have quantified uncertainty. This will include verification using ice cores where layer counting has been performed manually.

·           Extend this statistical framework to accept multivariate data and to incorporate fixed age constraints such as volcanic eruptions, and broaden the application to other climate proxies such as corals, speleothems and tree-rings.

·           Create a well-documented program that applies this new method for general use in the ice core and related communities.

·           Work with the ice core team at BAS to apply this method to the dating of new high-resolution cores from the Antarctic Peninsula and Greenland.


Funding is already secured for this studentship through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and is linked with the BAS Polar Science for Planet Earth research program “Chemistry and Past Climate”.  It is envisaged that the student will be primarily based at the University of Sheffield, with regular visits to BAS Cambridge, and an extended placement at BAS during the application of this exciting new method.


The NERC studentship award is currently set at £13,290 p.a. (2009/10). To be eligible for the full award candidates must hold a British Passport or have been resident in the UK for the past 3 years. Please see for further details.


Applicants should have a minimum 2.1 degree in mathematics/statistics, be competent in programming (e.g. R or Matlab), and have a keen interest in the application of these skills to environmental studies.


The student will be supervised by Dr Nerilie Abram (BAS, Cambridge) and Prof. Paul Blackwell (Department of Probability and Statistics, University of Sheffield). Dr Eric Wolff and Dr Louise Sime (BAS) will provide additional supervisory support.


Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be sent by email to Dr Nerilie Abram ( or Prof. Paul Blackwell ( Applications should be made online to the University of Sheffield (; specifying a PhD in Probability and Statistics as the qualification, and Prof. Blackwell as Sheffield supervisor) and should include a CV, the email addresses of two referees and a statement of the applicants interest in this project and the skills they can bring to it.


Closing date for applications: 12th March 2010

Dr Nerilie Abram

Work Package Manager (ice cores)
British Antarctic Survey
Natural Environment Research Council
phone: +44-1223 221539
fax: +44-1223 221279

Attachment: BAS Studentship advert_Abram.pdf
Description: BAS Studentship advert_Abram.pdf

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