|From||Samar Khatiwala <email@example.com>|
|Date||Sat, 9 May 2015 04:56:14 -0400|
The Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford and the National Oceanography Center have a 4-year Ph.D. studentship in ocean biogeochemical modeling funded through the NERC Large Grant Project COMICS (Controls over Ocean Mesopelagic Interior Carbon Storage). The student will be based at Oxford. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a good first degree in the natural sciences, maths or engineering to work on a cutting edge problem at the intersection of marine biogeochemistry, mathematical modeling and computer science. The studentship start date is October 2015. A brief description is given below and further details are available at: http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/graduate_admissions. The deadline for applications is 10 June, 2015 and interviews will be held at the end of June. Project title: Toward a mechanistic model of the ocean biological carbon pump Supervisor: Prof. Samar Khatiwala (firstname.lastname@example.org) Co-Supervisor: Dr. Adrian Martin (email@example.com) Photosynthesis by phytoplankton at the surface of the ocean absorb CO2 from the atmosphere to produce organic matter. At the end of their life cycle these marine organisms aggregate into large, rapidly sinking particles. This sinking organic matter is in turn fed on by bacteria and zooplankton, respiring CO2 that can stay dissolved in the deep ocean for thousands of years. This set of processes, collectively known as the "biological carbon pump" (BCP), is a major pathway by which carbon is transported from the atmosphere to the deep sea. Understanding the complex processes that control the efficiency of the BCP and hence the relative partitioning of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere and, ultimately, climate, is thus one of the leading problems in oceanography and climate science. Current models of the BCP embedded within global climate models do not however have a mechanistic representation of the BCP. They are thus largely incapable of responding to environmental changes and cannot be used to investigate how the BCP will evolve in the future or how it may have operated in the past. The primary objective of this project is to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the BCP and it's response to environmental conditions. To achieve this objective, a global model that represents the process through which marine particles stick together or break apart will be developed. Starting with the growth of phytoplankton at the surface the model will use a Lagragian, stochastic approach to explicitly simulate the main processes of coagulation and disaggregation affecting the sinking of organic particles through the ocean. This model of particles and biogeochemistry will interact with ocean circulation as simulated by models such as UKESM. To feasibly carry out this computation we will exploit programmable GPUs to achieve computational speedup of the model and scale it up to run in 3-d. The student will not only lead the development of the model-acquiring training and skills in marine biogeochemistry, oceanography and high performance computing and numerical modeling-but also perform experiments to mechanistically explore the BCP’s response to climate change. The student will actively collaborate with COMICS team members at the National Oceanography Centre, and other groups in the US, Germany and France. The successful applicant, whose first degree might be in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics or engineering, will have strong computing skills and an interest in modeling the ocean carbon cycle.
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