Research Fellow - School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Position Details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK.
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £32,348 to £42,155, with potential progression once in post to £44,737
Full Time, Fixed term contract - Preferred dates 01/11/2022 to 30/04/2026.
Closing date: 4th September 2022

Background

One of the biggest uncertainties about future climate change is how the carbon cycle will respond to (or 'feed back' on) our warming planet. The recently awarded NERC-NSF Large Grant "C-FORCE" will measure how the global carbon cycle responded from start to finish during a past period of global warming that was driven by volcanic emissions of carbon-based greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is the largest natural climate change event of the last 65 million years, the closest natural comparator to the modern rates of global warming and carbon greenhouse gas emissions, and the only entire climate change event for which it is currently possible to measure global carbon cycle feedbacks. During the PETM, forcing carbon emissions were supplied by the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP) and palaeoclimate proxy records show how the Earth system responded to the total PETM carbon budget. By comparing the NAIP volcanic emissions with the Earth system's response, C-FORCE will reconstruct how the global carbon cycle evolved throughout the PETM, and show whether or not tipping point behaviour occurred. Ultimately, an improved understanding of the carbon cycle affects future carbon budgets to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celcius and is therefore necessary for shaping mitigation targets and government policy.

Summary of Role

A 3.5-year Research Fellow position based in Birmingham and working closely with members of the C-FORCE consortium across the UK, Europe and the USA, to determine the pacing and magnitude of carbon emissions supplied by the North Atlantic Igneous Province at the best possible temporal resolution using a ground-breaking stochastic modelling framework, and feed these results into the global carbon cycle modelling that will achieve C-FORCE's ultimate aim.

Main Duties/Responsibilities

  • Assemble database of North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP) elements based on seismic imaging and sediment core-based records, with support from C-FORCE investigators and project partners.
  • Design and undertake stochastic modelling of carbon emissions using in-house software and the new database of NAIP observations, with support from C-FORCE investigators and project partners.
  • Work with investigators and PDRAs across the C-FORCE project to incorporate NAIP emissions modelling results into an Earth system modelling framework that will achieve C-FORCE's ultimate aim.
  • Lead or collaborate in, as appropriate, dissemination of research findings within the university, the UK and internationally, including research seminars, conference presentations, publications, etc.
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research on NAIP emplacement and associated carbon emissions.
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines, with support from the C-FORCE investigators.
  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint future research projects, with assistance of a mentor (if desired).
  • Supervise students on research-related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline, with assistance of a mentor (if desired).
  • Develop teaching portfolio by contributing to undergraduate teaching, with assistance of a mentor (if desired).
  • Contribute to C-FORCE public outreach and impact plan, with support from the C-FORCE consortium (if desired).

Person Specification

The successful candidate will have research experience that can be related to observing and/or modelling volcanic processes and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

You will carry out the bulk of the research needed to deliver C-FORCE's Objective 1: "To determine the pacing and magnitude of the carbon emissions forcing function supplied by the North Atlantic Igneous Province at millennial resolution, using a ground-breaking framework", working closely with Co-PI Stephen Jones (Birmingham), and C-FORCE consortium members in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Oxford, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Denmark, Ireland and Norway who represent the major international projects that are currently investigating the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. You will collaborate with the wider C-FORCE consortium to export the new NAIP carbon emissions forcing function for use in novel global carbon cycle modelling that will reconstruct the global carbon cycle's response to rapid atmospheric carbon loading and global warming across the entire duration of the PETM.

You will demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for working within a cross-disciplinary consortium to solve important problems in climate science. The C-FORCE project is designed to enable two-way interfacing between solid earth and palaeoclimate scientists. We believe that the global carbon cycle's response to rapid atmospheric carbon loading and global warming is not yet understood because the solid earth and palaeoclimate communities have not yet collaborated effectively. C-FORCE also has an ambitious public engagement plan in partnership with community organisers and local government, and experience in and enthusiasm for such activity would be advantageous.

We offer a 3.5 year PDRA position that will allow time for activities that complement C-FORCE, such as continuing pre-existing research activity, developing new directions of research, developing a teaching portfolio, engaging with industry or government, and developing public outreach skills. Applicants with interests in one or more of these areas are encouraged.

The application deadline is tight owing to a technical issue outside control of the C-FORCE project. If you are interested in this position but your personal circumstances mean you will struggle to meet the deadline, please contact Stephen Jones informally to discuss your situation. First degree in area of specialism and normally, to have completed or be nearing completion of a higher degree (PhD) relevant to research area or equivalent qualifications.

Informal enquires to Stephen M Jones, email: s.jones.4@bham.ac.uk

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working

posted: 03 April 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.