AOPP Summer Vacation Students

2019 Summer Programme

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics hosts a research programme for undergraduate students during the summer. Students work with a supervisor in the Department, usually a postdoctoral researcher or lecturer, on a self-contained research project. Students are also encouraged to take part in Departmental life, joining researchers for coffee, discussions and seminars. We anticipate taking about six students.

The projects run for typically 8 weeks, nominally from late June to August, though the duration may be shorter to accommodate summer travel. Students are paid a living wage for their time, around £300 per week (subject to tax and National Insurance deductions). 75% of the salary due for the entire project will be advanced during the first week, and the rest will be paid after completion of the project. The project is full-time but hours can be discussed with your supervisor. Please note that projects are not available to applicants that require a work permit.

Counting cloud droplets from space

Particles in the atmosphere (called aerosols) affect clouds, altering
how much light they reflect, where they form and how long they last.
These interactions have been described as the greatest source of
uncertainty in our ability to predict future climate as their mechanisms
are poorly constrained. Satellite imagery has frequently been used to
investigate aerosol-cloud interactions as it provides a global,
long-term perspective but satellites usually cannot observe the bottom
of a cloud, where the interactions actually take place. A solution is to
use a different variable, Cloud Droplet Number Concentration (CDNC),
which is believed to more representative of the bottom of a cloud.

In this project, the candidate will implement and evaluate various means
of estimating CDNC from the aerosol dataset generated by the Optimal
Retrieval of Aerosol and Cloud (ORAC), an algorithm developed by
researchers in Oxfordshire. The data will be evaluated against aircraft
observations, aiming to establish if any potential CDNC product provides
a useful perspective on our data. A strong candidate would implement
their chosen method within the ORAC code, adding to an internationally
respected dataset.

Skills Required

The candidate should be studying a subject in the physical or
environmental sciences and demonstrate a knowledge of statistics.
Practical experience with computer programming is strongly preferred,
especially in Python or Fortran.

How to Apply

To apply for a project please email a CV, name and contact details for
one academic reference, and a short covering letter explaining your
interest in that placement to adam.povey@physics.ox.ac.uk. Applications
will be reviewed as received until the positions are filled.

Supervisors: Prof. R. Grainger and Dr. A. Povey