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December 14, 2016

Understanding long term climate and atmospheric composition change over Antarctica

Understanding long term climate and atmospheric composition change over Antarctica

Air bubbles trapped in the ice of the Earth’s cold regions provide a unique, fascinating and long term record of atmospheric composition. Ice-core records of reactive gases are a relatively recent innovation, and potentially offer constraints on aspects of the past ~10000 years where there is little consensus (or investigation) with climate models. In this project you will work with ice core hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) data and other observations, and state-of-the-art global climate models to advance our understanding of changes in oxidising nature of the atmosphere. Your analysis will: quantify the contribution of natural and anthropogenically-forced change from Greenland and Antarctica ice cores over the last ~100-10000 years, determine the contribution of different drivers of composition change for a range of future scenarios, and define novel techniques to evaluate global models and direct their improvement.

You will be primarily based in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, but the project team includes scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder Colorado, and the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate groupat CSIC Madrid. You will make several visits to BAS to understand more about collecting data and analysing change in Antarctica, and this partnership will also give you the opportunity to attend a polar field skills summer school in Svalbard, Norway. There will also be an extended visit to NCAR to work with climate modellers there.

Through working with complex climate model and observation data, you will learn scientific computing skills and get experience of big data analysis. Together with the field training and experience this project will set you up well for a range of career options in academia or beyond.

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For further details please contact Paul Young, paul.j.young@lancaster.ac.uk.