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ENV East Doctoral Training Partnership


Applications to the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership are now closed.

Below you can browse some of the PhD projects we have previously funded; if you would like to be informed when applications open, or if you have any questions about EnvEast and our application process, please email us.

Projects previously funded by EnvEast


Southern Ocean uptake of atmospheric CO2: Where should we measure it? (SUNTHARALINGAM_UENV15EE)

Project description

Scientific background

The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in moderating global climate change by absorbing ~40% of anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide (CO2) released to the atmosphere. An important study (Le Quéré et al., 2007) raised concerns that the Southern Ocean's ability to absorb CO2 is weakening. This implies that future atmospheric-CO2 could reach higher levels than currently predicted, and that global carbon-reduction strategies may need strengthening.

Such CO2 uptake estimates are made using measurements of atmospheric CO2 together with numerical models. These estimates can be improved by increasing the number of places where atmospheric-CO2 is measured, especially if locations are chosen carefully.

We urgently need to: (i) expand the atmospheric-CO2 measurement network around the Southern Ocean;  and (ii) update the findings of Le Quéré et al., [2007] to understand how the behaviour of the Southern Ocean has changed in recent years.

Project Aims and methodology

The project aims:

  1. To produce state-of-art estimates of CO2 uptake by the Southern Ocean using the most recent measurements;
  2. To provide a robust basis for deciding where, around the Southern Ocean, the British Antarctic Survey should install new atmospheric-CO2 measurements.

The project involves developing/using numerical modelling tools and inverse analysis methods, to (i) calculate CO2 exchange between the atmosphere/Southern Ocean; and (ii) use error reduction methods to identify the most valuable sites for new CO2 measurements.


We are offering this exciting collaboration between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as a CASE studentship. You will work within two active research groups:Dr Parvadha Suntharalingam  (primary supervisor) is an expert in numerical modelling tools; Dr Anna Jones (second supervisor) has expertise in Southern Ocean CO2 measurement; Prof. Corine Le Quéré (third supervisor) led the seminal paper on changes in Southern Ocean CO2 uptake. You will receive extensive on-site training (scientific and transferable skills); attend an Earth System Science summer school; and present results at international conferences.


The ideal candidate will have strong numerical skills. We encourage applications from students with degrees in Mathematics/Applied Mathematics/Computing/Environmental Sciences/Chemistry/Oceanography/Meteorology. For those crossing disciplines, additional training/upskilling will be provided.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview day on either Thursday 12 or Friday 13 February 2015.


This project has been shortlisted for funding from the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful candidates who meet RCUK's eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. The stipend for 2014/15 was £13,863 p.a


We recommend you read our 'How to Apply' page before starting your application.


Dr Anna Jones, British Antarctic Survey (CASE partner)

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia

  • Start date October 2015
  • Programme PhD
  • Mode of Study Full-time
  • Studentship Length 3.5 years
Entry requirements
  • Minimum Entry Standard 2:1 Honours degree, or overseas equivalent