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iCASE PhD studentship with the UK Met Office: Processes determining stratospheric water vapour

Status: completed
Publication State: published


The co-operating partners in this project will be the University of Cambridge and the Met Office. Improving simulation of stratospheric water vapour remains a challenge for Earth System Models that are used for climate prediction. There are strong links between the water vapour distribution in the lower stratosphere and the tropopause temperatures which in turn determine water vapour, so positive feedbacks are possible that may significantly enhance the effects of modest errors in model representation of other relevant processes. The project will build on recent work in Cambridge and elsewhere that (a) has exploited trajectory techniques to examine the annual, interannual and longer-term links between tropopause temperatures and stratospheric water vapour and (b) has investigated the radiative coupling between water vapour and temperatures in the tropical tropopause region using a combination of offline radiative calculations and simple dynamical models. The focus of the project will be to analyse the variations of water vapour on monthly, annual, interannual and longer timescales simulated by the Met Office Unified Model (UM) and link these to the corresponding temperature and transport variations. (One component of this analysis would be use of a trajectory code which is already available for the UM.) The results will be compared against corresponding analysis of the recent history of the real atmosphere (some of which is already on record in scientific publications). In its later stages the project will consider the two-way coupling between tropical tropopause temperatures and water vapour concentrations in the UM and assess the possible implications for model predictions of long-term changes in these quantities. During visits to the Met Office the student will investigate these processes in long historical and scenario simulations of the new UKESM1 earth system model that will support future climate and ozone assessments.
The work in the studentship project will provide an opportunity for the student to make a contribution in a scientific area that is both of fundamental interest and of real practical interest to the Met Office earth-system modelling effort. TRAINING

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