Lead Supervisor: Bill Collins, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

Email: w.collins@reading.ac.uk

Co-supervisors: Michaela Hegglin, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading; Fiona O’Connor, Met Office; Apostolos Voulgarakis, Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, Department of Physics, Imperial College

How much will climate change will get in future? This depends on feedback loops that can amplify or dampen climate change. Reactive greenhouse gases play a crucial, but poorly understood role in these feedbacks. In this project you will determine how gases such as methane and ozone are affected by climate change, and how they in turn affect the climate. For instance climate change could result in large natural emissions of gases from wildfires, vegetation or lightning that react to increase ozone and methane. These greenhouse gases could warm the climate still further in a feedback loop. These chemical feedbacks act with the physical climate feedbacks to amplify or dampen human-induced climate change. Understanding how these feedbacks affect future climate is at the cutting edge of climate research as the large climate models are only just starting to include these effects.

How does climate affect greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and how does atmospheric composition affect climate? In this project you will use an Earth system model which is the most advanced and complex tool for modelling future climate. This project uses a version of the UK’s state of the art Earth System model (UKESM1.1) which has the most comprehensive detail of chemistry, biogeochemical and climate processes of any climate model in the world. You will be setting up and running experiments you have designed with this Earth system model.

Does the model represent the real world? You will be visualizing its output and comparing its results with a range of satellite (MOPITT, IASI, and TROPOMI) observations of relevant atmospheric gases.

Photos of a forest fire, trees and lightening

In Reading you will be part of the Atmospheric Composition, Radiation, and Climate research group in the Department of Meteorology, learning from a broad range of researchers whose work focuses on the interactions between chemistry and climate and is based on both climate modelling and Earth observations. You will spend at least 3 months at the Met Office in Exeter within the Earth System and Mitigation Science team, relating your work to wider climate science and understanding how this science is used by the UK Government. The collaboration with the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society will introduce you to scientists and students from a wide range of disciplines.

This is a new and rapidly increasing area of climate science and will involve you collaborating with international scientists in the field.

Training Opportunities

You will have the opportunity to take relevant modules from the University of Reading MSc in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate. As well as the physical sciences, these include computing, and python programming. Training courses will be provided by NCAS on running climate models on large supercomputers. The time at the UK Met Office will provide training on the UKESM1.1 Earth system model. There will be an opportunity to attend one international summer school and to present to at least one international conference.

Student Profile

This project would be suitable for students with a degree in physics, mathematics or a closely related environmental or physical science.

The student should have an interest in environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change.

Funding Particulars

This project has CASE support from the Met Office.