PhD: Ocean processes triggering monsoon rainfall

Project Description

What scientific question will you investigate?

The South Asian summer monsoon provides 80% of the annual rainfall for over one billion people. We need to understand how the ocean and the atmosphere affect each other; this is key to understanding and predicting monsoon behaviour. There is increasing evidence that it is not just the physics of the seawater that is important, but also how much plant-life is present. The plants contain chlorophyll and make the water green; this absorbs the sunshine more than clear blue water. This project will investigate the importance of this process in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.


What will you be doing as part of the PhD project?

You will join the Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE) project using a new technology, ocean gliders, to make multidisciplinary observations in summer 2016. You will use your analysis of the upper ocean observations to run experiments with a climate model to test the effect of the ocean chlorophyll field.


What training will you receive?

You will join the vibrant and active UEA Seaglider Group, part of the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS). You will participate in a research cruise, pilot gliders, and attend international conferences, workshops and summer schools. You will be trained in multidisciplinary seagoing oceanography, meteorology, marine science, and the use of ocean gliders. You will develop transferable skills in computer programming, numerical modelling, data analysis and visualization, and scientific communication and outreach.


Is this project right for you?

We seek someone with a good numerate physical science degree (e.g. physics, maths, natural sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, oceanography, meteorology).  You should have a strong interest in learning about how the climate system works, but you don’t need to have studied this before. We will provide all the necessary training as part of your PhD, for example in oceanography and biogeochemistry. Experience of a computer language such as Matlab or Python would be useful.

We welcome applications for this project from overseas students (e.g. from Indian Ocean rim countries) willing to seek their own financial support.



Matthews, A.J., D.B. Baranowski, K.J. Heywood, P.J. Flatau, S. Schmidtko (2014) The surface diurnal warm layer in the Indian Ocean during CINDY/DYNAMO, Journal of Climate.

Turner, A. G., et al. (2012) The effect of Arabian Sea optical properties on SST biases and the South Asian summer monsoon in a coupled GCM. Climate dynamics 39.3-4: 811-826.

Webber, B.G.M., A.J. Matthews, K.J. Heywood, J. Kaiser, S. Schmidtko (2014) Seaglider observations of equatorial Indian Ocean Rossby waves associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation, Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans 119, doi:10.1002/2013JC009657.


Start date: October 2015

Programme: PhD

Mode of Study: Full Time


Read more and apply online.