January 2016
Message 94

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[Met-jobs] PhD position: Meteorological Controls on Air Quality in Beijing

From "Wild, Oliver" <>
To "" <>
Date Sat, 30 Jan 2016 06:58:04 +0000

I am looking for a student with a strong numerical background for a PhD project 
exploring the meteorological contributions to major air pollution episodes in 
Beijing. The project will involve running state-of-the-art air quality models 
to investigate the mixing and trapping of pollutants over the North China 
Plain, and will provide new insight into the development of hazardous smog 
conditions. The project involves collaboration with the leading air quality 
modelling team in China, and will benefit from a major joint China-UK programme 
on air pollution in Beijing.

The studentship is competition-funded at Lancaster University and is open to 
international students, not just to UK and EU citizens. The student will be 
based in Lancaster, but will have the opportunity to visit the Chinese partners 
in Beijing. If you know anyone who might be interested, please forward these 
details; application is online through the link below, and the deadline is 14th 

Chemical Weather: Identifying the Meteorological Controls on Air Quality

Supervisors: Oliver Wild (Lancaster), Zifa Wang (IAP, Beijing)
Co-supervisors: Ruth Doherty (Edinburgh), Fiona O'Connor (UK Met Office)

Urban air pollution is a major problem in many parts of the world, and is 
particularly acute in rapidly-developing countries such as China and India. 
Large increases in vehicle ownership and power generation have led to more 
frequent and severe urban smog episodes in expanding megacities like Beijing. 
High levels of ozone and particulate matter have damaging impacts on human 
health and are responsible for 7 million deaths per year worldwide, 6 million 
of which are in Asia. While severe air pollution is typically attributed to 
precursor emissions from energy and transport use, meteorological processes 
play an important but poorly understood role in the transport, transformation 
and removal of pollutants. Stagnant, high pressure weather conditions permit 
the build-up of pollutants to dangerous levels, pollution haze reduces 
ventilation of the urban boundary layer, and winds from surrounding rural 
regions bring pollutants from industrial and agricultural sources which combine 
with urban pollutants to form hazardous smog. Control and mitigation of urban 
air pollution relies on a sound understanding of how these different 
meteorological influences combine to affect the quality of the air we breathe.

This project will explore the role of meteorological processes in governing 
urban air quality, using Beijing as a case study. This study of “Chemical 
Weather” will identify and quantify the meteorological mechanisms responsible 
for the formation and evolution of pollution episodes. It will use a 
state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction and air quality model along with 
extensive pollutant measurements from partners in Beijing. Key scientific 
questions include: How do anticyclones and cold fronts drive the strong 
day-to-day variations seen in air quality? How does atmospheric mixing in the 
polluted urban boundary layer affect human exposure? How does pollutant 
transport from outside the city contribute to poor urban air quality? The 
project will deliver new understanding of the meteorological controls on urban 
air quality and provide the student with a strong foundation in numerical 
modelling, atmospheric science and their wider applications. There will be an 
opportunity to visit partners in Beijing to collaborate and to contribute to 
recently-funded UK projects addressing air quality in polluted megacities in 
Asia. While the principal focus will be on Beijing, we expect the findings to 
be of direct relevance to other cities, e.g., Delhi, and to shape policy 
approaches to mitigating air pollution worldwide.

Further Information:

Dr. Oliver Wild
Lancaster Environment Centre
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YQ,  United Kingdom

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