January 2016
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[Met-jobs] NERC-funded Ph.D. studentship in atmospheric and ocean sciences at the University of Liverpool

From "Williams, Ric" <>
To "" <>
Cc "Williams, Ric" <>
Date Wed, 6 Jan 2016 12:25:45 +0000

NERC-funded Ph.D. studentship in atmospheric and ocean sciences at the University of Liverpool

Project title: How does atmospheric jet stream position and blocking affect the North Atlantic Ocean?  

Supervisors: Prof. Ric Williams (Liverpool), Dr Vassil Roussenov (Liverpool), Dr Tim Woollings (Oxford) and Prof. Geraint Vaughan (Manchester)

External supervisors and institution: Prof. Susan Lozier (Duke University, USA)



This studentship examines how different atmospheric regimes affect the ocean heat storage and overturning in the North Atlantic Ocean and the wider climate system.

The prevailing view is that much of the ocean variability in heat storage in the North Atlantic is understood in terms of slowly varying climate modes, i.e. fixed pressure patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. Instead we wish to explore how the ocean heat uptake and overturning is controlled by the position and frequency of individual weather systems, in particular atmospheric blocks, which determine the path of the jet stream. The jet stream can be in a variety or regimes, such as involving undisturbed flow, wave-like undulations, persistent deflections to the south or north linked to atmospheric blocks. 

Project Summary:

The studentship will examine the following research questions:
* The jet stream regime and position of atmospheric high pressure systems affects the ocean heat content changes;
* The ocean subtropical warming is linked to the strength of the Trade winds, while the ocean subpolar warming is linked to the wind forcing and air-sea fluxes over the Labrador Sea. 
The plan of work for the student involves:
1. Identifying different atmospheric regimes using two century long weather centre reanalyses from 1900 to the present day. 
2. Compare the atmospheric regimes for blocking and jet indices with our estimates of ocean heat storage based upon reanalyses of historical data in the North Atlantic.
3. Test our ideas of how the atmospheric regimes control the ocean heat content response by forcing ocean circulation models. 
4. Assess how the different atmospheric regimes then affect the wider climate response, altering the rate of sea surface warming and the storage of heat in the upper and deep ocean.

This work plan can be revised and modified according to the input and aptitude of the student.

The studentship will be part of the NERC funded UK-OSNAP programmme: Overturning in the  Subpolar North Atlantic, The student will have repeated short visits to work with Dr Tim Woollings. In addition, the student will have the opportunity to visit and work with Professor Susan Lozier (Duke University, USA), who leads the international OSNAP programme, as well as attending national meetings and having the opportunity to participate in fieldwork.

Our studentships are funded by NERC and are available to UK nationals and other EU nationals that have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. If you meet this criteria, funding will be provided for tuition fees and stipend. If you are a citizen of a EU member state you will eligible for a fees-only award.
Applicants should have a strong academic track record with a science degree, such as including Ocean Sciences, Meteorology, Mathematics, Physics or Engineering. The project involves analysing data and integrating ocean models, so that the student needs to have an aptitude for quantitative work. 

Application process: 
To apply follow the instructions at

Deadline: 4 February 2016

Informal inquiries may be directed to: Ric Williams (  
Full details of the project, see

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