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Applications are now open for PhD studentships starting in October 2018. 

Please read the recruitment introduction for more information about eligibility, how to apply, and possibilities for further funding.

The deadline for applications is 8 January 2018.

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MARSHALL_UBAS18EE - What is driving Arctic climate change in the eastern Eurasian Basin?

Project description

Selected other project supervisors:
Professor David Stevens (UEA)
Professor Timothy Osborn (UEA)
Dr Andrew Orr (British Antarctic Survey)
Dr Manoj Joshi (UEA)

Figure: Reduction in Arctic sea ice extent at the time of sea ice minima

Scientific Background
The Arctic Ocean has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth over the past few decades. Climate change in the eastern Eurasian Basin region of the Arctic Ocean may have wider environmental implications because significant stores of carbon are contained there, within subsea permafrost on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. Some scientists argue that its release might be a major contributor to global warming. We do know that the region’s climate is sensitive, as the Eurasian Basin has shown the greatest reduction in minimum sea ice extent across the Arctic in recent years. Thus, there is a pressing need to better understand the key physical interactions governing climate variability in the Eurasian Basin, to better constrain projections of how the region’s climate will evolve

Research methodology
The successful candidate will:

  • Undertake an analysis of the relationships between the atmosphere, sea ice and ocean in the Eurasian Basin (East Siberian and Laptev Seas) to establish the key statistical linkages driving regional climate variability. He/she will use a range of meteorological observations, gridded reanalysis, remote-sensing datasets, climate models and proxy data.
  • Relate climate in the Eurasian Basin to large scale modes of climate variability.
  • Undertake new climate modelling experiments to determine the primary physical processes that govern regional atmospheric coupling to the ice-ocean system.
  • Focusing on these key physical processes and statistical relationships, he/she will utilise a subset of the models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to examine how projected future atmospheric circulation changes are likely to impact the regional ice-ocean system


In addition to the EnvEast training programme, the candidate will have training opportunities in statistical methods, data analysis and visualisation techniques, climate modelling and public outreach. There is the potential to visit and collaborate with scientists from Moscow State University (MSU).

Person specification
We are looking for enthusiastic, self-reliant, and self-motivated candidates with a strong numerical background in mathematics, physics or the environmental sciences. Previous programming experience in one of Python, MATLAB, IDL or similar computing environment would be advantageous.

The successful candidate will be registered for a PhD in the School of Mathematics at the University of East Anglia.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with over twenty other research partners. Undertaking a PhD with the EnvEast DTP will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by EnvEast on 12/13 February 2018.

Selected candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553. Ordinarily, EnvEast studentships are for 3.5 years, although longer awards may be made to applicants from quantitative disciplines who have limited experience in the environmental sciences, to allow them to take appropriate advanced-level courses in the subject area.

In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.

This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).


  1. Koenigk T, et al. 2013. Arctic climate change in 21st century CMIP5 simulations with EC-Earth. Climate Dynamics, 32, 1119-1138, doi:10.1007/s00382-012-1505-y.
  2. Marshall GJ, Vignols RM, & Rees WG. 2016. Climate change in the Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia, during the last 50 years from meteorological observations. Journal of Climate, 29, 6823-6840, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0179.1.
  3. Overland JE, and Wang M. 2009. Large-scale atmospheric circulation changes are associated with the recent loss of Arctic sea ice. Tellus, 62, 1-9, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0870.2009.00421.x.
  4. Turner J, & Marshall GJ. 2011. Climate Change in the Polar Regions, Cambridge University Press, pp 434.
  5. Heuzé, C., K.J. Heywood, D.P. Stevens and J.K. Ridley. 2015. Changes in global ocean bottom properties and volume transports in CMIP5 models under climate change scenarios. Journal of Climate, 28, 2917-2944, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00381.1.