March 2016
Message 27

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[Met-jobs] PhD position: Air Pollution across the Niger Delta

From Oliver Wild <>
Date Tue, 08 Mar 2016 13:00:22 +0000

We are advertising a PhD studentship to investigate air quality in the Niger
Delta and the impacts of gas flaring in this region. The position will be
based at Lancaster University and is jointly supervised by staff at CEH
Wallingford. The project combines novel analysis of Earth Observation data
on flaring and atmospheric composition with air quality modelling of
atmospheric chemistry and transport processes to provide new, more reliable
estimates of air pollution in the region and to assess the wider impacts
of gas flaring.

Project details are summarised below. If you have any students who might be
interested, please forward these details; application is online through the 
link below, and the deadline is 31st March.

Air Pollution across the Niger Delta: Earth Observation and Atmospheric 
Chemistry Modelling

Supervisors: Duncan Whyatt, Alan Blackburn, Oliver Wild and Garry Hayman

Gas flaring is a spectacular and effective way of controlling excess pressure 
in the oil and gas industry, but it is a major contributor to environmental 
damage in the Niger Delta (Nigeria, Africa) and may have a substantial impact 
on atmospheric composition around the Globe. Despite widespread use at 
drilling sites, there is very little reliable information about the location 
of flares, the amount and composition of gases and particulate matter 
released into the atmosphere and the fate of these pollutants in the wider 
environment. These oxidants, soot and aerosols affect regional air quality, 
damage human health and natural ecosystems, and ultimately affect atmospheric 
composition around the Tropics. Addressing the resulting environmental 
challenges requires reliable quantification of the nature and source of these 
pollutants along with a sound understanding of the physical and chemical 
processes involved.

This project will use GIS and satellite remote sensing techniques to 
determine the locations and characteristics of flares in the Niger Delta, the 
most important region for flaring worldwide after central Russia. A state-of-
the-art weather forecast and chemistry-transport model, WRF-Chem, will be 
applied to simulate the emissions, transport, mixing and chemical 
transformation of associated pollutants at fine spatial and temporal scales. 
Data on atmospheric composition from dedicated earth observation sensors 
(e.g., SCIAMACHY, OMI and the upcoming Sentinel 5 precursor) will be used to 
verify model inputs (flare emission rates) and outputs (gas and aerosol 
concentrations). The project will deliver the most comprehensive and reliable 
assessment of air pollution from gas flaring across the Niger Delta and 
assess the implications of this for environmental regulation and protection.

Further Information:

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

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