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PhD positions available


The research projects that I am currently involved in have excellent opportunities for students interested in completing a PhD. Key topics linked to the cryosphere that are of specific interest at present are:

Determining the atmospheric footprint on glacier mass balance in the Southern Alps of New Zealand: The mass balance of glaciers in the Southern Alps of New Zealand is vitally important as it provides us with an opportunity to assess the influence of weather and climate processes in the Southern Hemisphere, not just at sea level but well into the troposphere. To determine the physical processes governing glacier advance and retreat in the Southern Alps (the effect and “local footprint”) it is critical that different modes of climate variability (the cause) impacting weather and climate over a hierarchy of space-time scales are resolved. The key to achieving this is to resolve the atmospheric processes operating between the local and large scales, or fundamentally, the scale at which weather systems interact with the Southern Alps. The proposed PhD position would focus on using regional atmospheric modelling to explicitly resolve how weather systems influence glacier behaviour, as well as to use a physically-based glacier mass balance model to assess glacier response to climate forcing. This will significantly increase the potential to use glaciers in the Southern Alps to reconstruct past climates in New Zealand, and more broadly in the Southern Hemisphere.

The atmospheric processes governing ice cliff formation and retreat on Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: To successfully use the retreat of glaciers on Kilimanjaro to reconstruct past climate we need to resolve the physical processes responsible for the formation of the distinct vertical ice cliffs of the glaciers that reside on the top of the mountain. The proposed PhD position would use remote sensing and new atmospheric modelling techniques to assess the recent break-up of Kilimanjaro’s largest glacier. The remarkable separation of the glacier into two ice entities will allow the atmospheric processes governing ice cliff formation and retreat to be investigated, which will help unlock the mystery of how ice cliffs formed in the past.

How to apply: The projects are contingent on the applicant securing a University of Otago PhD Scholarship (international or domestic) and satisfying University of Otago PhD entry requirements. Students with high first class Honours or Master degrees and back grounds in physical geography, atmospheric science or related disciplines are encouraged to apply. Atmospheric modelling skills, experience in remote sensing and the ability to use programming languages are strongly desired. If you would like to discuss either of the above projects or have interest in other atmosphere, weather and/or climate focused research topics please contact me via e-mail nicolas.cullen@otago.ac.nz.

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