November 2014
Message 18

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[Met-jobs] Exeter PhD

From "Halloran, Paul" <>
To "" <>
Date Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:22:07 +0000

PhD studentship: The smell of pre-industrial seas: Using marine aerosol 
emissions to understand a present day climate change. University of Exeter.

Further details:

Paul Halloran (Exeter University)
Tom Bell (Plymouth Marine Labs)
Ben Booth (Met Office)

How atmospheric particles (aerosols) interact with clouds is perhaps the 
biggest open challenge we face in understanding the human impact on our 
climate. Aerosols act as seeds for cloud-droplet formation, increasing the 
brightness and lifetime of clouds, reflecting light and cooling the planet. 
Many of these particles form from sulfur-dioxide (SO2). Prior to the industrial 
revolution the dominant source of SO2 was dimethylsulfide (DMS) produced by 
marine algae. It has been hypothesised that as these algae respond to global 
warming, they may increase their DMS production, slowing down the warming – a 
negative feedback central to the Gaia hypothesis. Since industrialisation, SO2 
has been released from fossil fuel burning.  The amount of background natural 
aerosol (from DMS) controls the degree to which industrial SO2 impactes cloud 
reflectivity. Adding more seeds to an atmosphere already heavily loaded with 
natural cloud-droplet seeds makes very little difference, but added to a very 
clean atmosphere has a huge effect. Currently, the proportion of natural versus 
industrial cloud-seeds is unknown. This studentship will address this problem.

We seek an enthusiastic, numerate student, prepared to spend an extended period 
at sea. You must have achieved at least a 2:1 BSc Honours in a physical science 
(environmental science, chemistry, physics, maths etc.) and be capable of 
independent and team work. UK and International applicants are invited to 
apply. Please contact any of the supervisors with question or for further 

Many thanks,
Paul Halloran

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