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Name of scholarship/program

Building the world’s longest record of surface solar radiation variability (dimming/brightening)

Important description
The effect of the atmospheric aerosol on incoming solar radiation is known as “global dimming/brightening” and is indicative of the large effect that the aerosol can have on climate. As industrialised nations reduce emissions of pollutants that contribute to aerosol formation, the air clears and the full force of global warming from greenhouse gases becomes apparent. We want to extend greatly the length and spatial coverage of dimming/brightening data records using a neglected source of information: archived cards from Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorders We have developed methods for retrieving dimming/brightening signals from the “sunshine cards”. Having demonstrated the proof-of-concept, the objectives for the studentship are now:
1. To complete the 55-year climatology of sunshine-card-derived solar irradiance from Lerwick Observatory and compare this to other multi-decadal dimming/brightening time series.
2. To determine the best long-term (> 50-year) sunshine card archives from other latitudes (Arctic, tropics, south Atlantic). We are being helped in this by the Met Office Library.
3. To assess aerosol changes relative to pollutant emission controls, and model predictions using the card-derived historical climatology.
4. To refine our understanding of aerosol impacts on climate using the unique data record produced by the project.

Eligibility and other criteria
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*31 January 2013

Additional information, and important URL

This PhD is competition funded at Home&EU level, and applicants should apply via http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/gees/courses/postgraduate/phd-projets.aspx where they should click on ‘Apply now’ and choose the option ‘PhD in Department of Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management’ and give the PhD title in the ‘Funding details’ section of the online application.

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