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PhD Student

Applications for this position have now closed.


Vacancy:                   PhD (fully funded)
Location:                  Alexandra, New Zealand
Term:                         3 years
Start date:               1 March 2015, or as soon as possible thereafter
Remuneration:       NZ$30,000/year including fees

Bodeker Scientific is a research company with expertise in atmospheric and climate research. The company conducts original scientific research through contracts held with both national funding agencies and a number of international organisations. The company operates as a federation of largely independent researchers who collaboratively work on shared contracts under a commonly agreed company constitution. We focus on conducting high quality research within the time and financial constraints imposed by our research contracts. To achieve this goal, decision making within the company is participatory with an emphasis on personal responsibility.

Recently, Bodeker Scientific has been successful in obtaining funding through the New Zealand Marsden fund to use location information from balloons being flown by Google[x]’s Project Loon1. The collected balloon location information will be used to diagnose the processes affecting the permeability of the Antarctic vortex2. The successful applicant will undertake a 3 year PhD in the context of this Marsden-funded project. The project principal investigator (Greg Bodeker) and associate investigator (Sam Dean) are both adjunct professors at the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and will act as co-supervisors of the student. The student will be registered at VUW under the administrative supervision of Prof James Renwick. Should the student wish to be co-supervised from some specific university, this is an option that could be discussed, though the student would be expected to spend the majority (90%) of their time in New Zealand.

The Marsden-funded Loon project work packages include:
  1. Establishing a database of Loon location information tailored to meet the specific needs of the Marsden-funded project as well as the needs of the international stratospheric research community, 
  2. Using the Loon location information to assess the quality of the latest generation of reanalysis data sets over southern middle and high latitudes, 
  3. Evaluating Loon atmospheric temperature measurements through comparisons with satellite-based radio occultation measurements. The applicant will also use state-of-the-art atmospheric profile measurements of temperature and pressure from radiosonde flights made from GCOS (Global Climate Observing System) Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) sites. 
  4. Determining how vortex permeability changes with season and from year to year using a large ensemble of trajectories calculated from wind fields obtained from reanalyses. 
  5. Investigating chaotic mixing in the stratosphere by analysing data from earlier long-duration stratospheric balloon flights made over Antarctica as well as the more comprehensive Loon data set. 
  6. Investigating sub-grid-scale processes in the stratosphere by conducting simulations with a regional climate model nested within a global model to compare trajectories driven only by the global model wind field against trajectories driven by winds in the high-resolution domain. 
  7. Assessing the performance of the new ENDGame dynamical core of the UK MetOffice Unified Model and the extent to which the use of ENDGame improves the representation of the permeability of the Antarctic vortex in the model. 
Bodeker Scientific is located in Alexandra, Central Otago, known for its relaxed lifestyle which provides excellent opportunities for outdoor pursuits including mountain biking, kayaking, cross-country skiing in winter, rock climbing etc.

Please provide a covering letter that outlines your skills and expertise relevant to this project, a full academic record to indicate that you meet the entrance requirements for a VUW PhD programme, and the names of at least three referees. Please note, this position is open to international students.  However if you are not a New Zealand citizen/resident, you will be responsible for obtaining a visa if required, and also for making your own way to New Zealand.  If you are short-listed you will be interviewed, in person, for this position.

Applications must be emailed to Emma Scarlet (emma@bodekerscientific.com) by the deadline of 15 February 2015. 

For further information please email Greg Bodeker (greg@bodekerscientific.com).



[1]  http://www.google.co.nz/loon/

[2]  Bodeker, G.E.; Struthers, H. and Connor, B.J., Dynamical containment of Antarctic ozone depletion, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, 10.1029/2001GL014206, 2002.