March 2014
Message 78

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[Met-jobs] PhD position at Reading Meteorology Department

From Helen Dacre <>
To "" <>
Date Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:52:46 +0000

Dear Met-Jobs

Would it be possible to post the following PhD advert to the met-jobs mailing list please?


A PhD position is open at the University of Reading in the Meteorology Department on the project:

Improving the accuracy of air quality forecasts
The provision of accurate air quality forecasts is very important to provide guidance to those who are vulnerable to high pollution levels. Therefore, the Met Office routinely issues an operational 5-day air quality forecast for the UK using their Air Quality Unified Model (AQUM). AQUM predicts area average pollutant concentrations over typical areas between 4 and 12km2 . However the observed, near-surface concentrations with which they are routinely compared represent a single point within that area. As the spread of concentrations within each area can be considerable in reality, the model is often unable to represent the observed variations in concentration at a specific location. This mismatch between the spatial representativity of the model and observed concentrations makes diagnosing errors in the AQUM forecasts difficult at present. This project aims to improve the accuracy of air quality forecasts. In order to achieve this aim we first need to be able to evaluate errors in the air quality forecasts in a meaningful way. This will be achieved by i) creating interpolated maps of observations, allowing a ’fairer’ comparison between the model and observations, and ii) exploring new verification techniques which include the use of additional model areas around the observation location in question to derive a probability distribution of forecast values. The second challenge will be to separate out the meteorological and chemical sources of forecast error. This will be achieved by establishing relationships between the errors in the Met Office meteorological forecast and the errors in the AQUM forecasts. This will determine the degree to which the performance of the air quality forecasts is dependent on that of the meteorological model, or on the representativity of chemistry and emissions under different synoptic situations.

Collaboration: The student will work with Dr Helen Dacre at the University of Reading and also spend at least three months at the Met Office during the project allowing them to observe how their research extends into an operational forecast centre.  The Met Office co-supervisors are Dr Marion Mittermaier and Dr Carlos Ordonez.

Student profile: This project would be suitable for students with a degree in physics, mathematics or a closely related environmental or physical science.

Funding particulars: This PhD project has guarenteed funding via a NERC Industrial CASE Award.

Start date: September 2014.

Contact: Applicants should visit the University of Reading Meteorology Department postgraduate web page to download an application form

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