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Job posted by University of East Anglia (08/08/2014 11.39)

'HR Excellence in Research' logo awarded to institutions actively implementing the European Charter and Code for Researchers Investigating the impact of human activity on the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere (REEVESU15SF)

Please note that the job is no longer active!

This project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.



The oxidising capacity defines the rate at which many pollutants, including greenhouse gases, are removed from the atmosphere. The main oxidant is the hydroxyl radical (OH) which is primarily formed from ozone (O3) chemistry. O3 is also a greenhouse gas and air pollutant. This project addresses temporal trends in tropospheric O3 and OH since around 1950 as a result of changes in anthropogenic emissions.

Ozone is produced in the atmosphere via chemistry involving nitrogen oxides (NOX) and hydrocarbons. Over the last century emissions of NOX and hydrocarbons have changed dramatically and these changes are expected to have affected O3 and OH. Earlier model studies have examined this, but this project differs in that the student will use historical trends of hydrocarbons and alkyl nitrates to constrain the study. Alkyl nitrates are formed by similar reactions to those that lead to O3 production and are therefore markers of O3 chemistry. Previous research at UEA involving the analysis of air trapped in Arctic firn (consolidated snow) has led to the derivation of trends in the atmospheric concentrations of hydrocarbons and alkyl nitrates dating back to around 1950.


The main aim of this studentship is to use a 3-D global model and the observationally derived trends in hydrocarbons and alkyl nitrates to investigate changes in the O3 and OH chemistry of the northern hemisphere troposphere.

The student will use a comprehensive 3-D model, which will allow representation of the dynamics (e.g. transport of pollutants from different continents to the Arctic), and of the chemistry (e.g. in different pollution regimes) to interpret the observed trends in hydrocarbons and alkyl nitrates in the context of the O3 and OH chemistry.


The student will use the UK Chemistry-Aerosol global model (UKCA). This is a community model, developed and supported by the UK Meteorological Office (UKMO) and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). They will examine the consistency between emission databases and the observationally derived trends in the hydrocarbons. Specifically they will use the tagging facility within UKCA to separate the influences of emissions from different continents. Further the student will also investigate how the tropospheric O3 and OH chemistry has changed using the observed trends in the hydrocarbons, alkyl nitrates and their ratios as constraints.

Nr of positions available : 1

Research Fields

Environmental science - Other

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profiles

First Stage Researcher (R1)

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University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich


University of East Anglia

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EU Research Framework Programme
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University of East Anglia

School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich
NR4 7TJ - Norwich