Funded PhD studentship: Spatial scaling of snow properties for microwave modelling and remote sensing

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Funded PhD studentship: Spatial scaling of snow properties for microwave modelling and remote sensing

Nick Rutter
Hi All –

We are currently advertising a funded three year PhD studentship in "Spatial scaling of snow properties for microwave modelling and remote sensing". I would be grateful if you could bring this to the attention of suitable students.

Project description:
Remote sensing of water stored seasonally as snow is presently highly uncertain, which will become an observation gap of increasing priority as water resources and water security are highly relevant to society. This project will develop spatial simulations of microwave scattering at frequencies that satellites use. Fundamental to this is the spatial distribution of snow properties, particularly the size of snow crystals. Data analysis will be used to determine the best method of applying sparse field observations to inform spatially distributed computer simulations of snow. In particular, this project will:
1.Analyse new objective measurements of snow properties (obtained from mountain, tundra, lake ice and sea ice environments) relative to traditional snow measurements to determine best methods for application of measurements across a range of spatial scales.
2.Enable snow information to be distributed and used to simulate observations at microwave frequencies with the Snow Microwave Radiative Transfer (SMRT) model.
3.Compare model outputs with airborne and satellite data, which will allow parameter sensitivity testing to support Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE’s) in preparation for future snow satellite missions.

This is an exciting opportunity for students interested in remote sensing and environmental modelling. It is essential that applicants have a strong scientific background in disciplines such as geophysics, atmospheric sciences, oceanography or physical geography. Applicants will have strong numerical skills, including computer programming and data manipulation, although full training will be provided throughout the studentship to develop relevant skills. Depending on the interests of the candidate, opportunities to participate in fieldwork may be possible to enhance the process-based understanding of microwave scattering in snow. The is a collaborative project externally co-supervised by Dr Chris Derksen (Environment and Climate Change Canada / University of Waterloo, Canada) and Dr Mel Sandells (CORES Science and Engineering Ltd, UK).

Application deadline: 16 February 2018
Start date: 1 October 2018
Further details and a link to the online application:

Any questions, please email me directly.


Dr Nick Rutter
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK
+44 (0)191 227 4735
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