The leading cause of weather-related aircraft incidents is turbulence near the jet stream, and climate change is exacerbating the problem. Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is one kind of turbulence difficult for pilots to detect and forecasters to predict. One source of CAT is the release of hydrodynamic instability. Hydrodynamic instability, defined here as dry symmetric instability and its limiting case of inertial instability, is an imbalance between the horizontal pressure gradient, Coriolis, and centrifugal forces. We have an incomplete understanding of how the instability forms, releases, produces turbulence, and returns to stability.
This project is a combined observational, modelling, and diagnostic approach to understand the life cycle of CAT produced by the release of hydrodynamic instability. We will analyse turbulence datasets from a vertically pointing radar in Wales and in situ pilot reports, in conjunction with a new dataset of in situ quantitative measurements of turbulence from commercial aircraft. The Research Associate (PDRA) will lead the high-resolution modelling of real and idealised cases. In this way, improved understanding of the CAT life cycle will lead to better predictions of turbulence, as well as reduced operating costs and injuries to passengers and flight crew.
The research will be to conduct a number of model simulations ranging from real-data to idealised simulations using the WRF-ARW mesoscale model. First, you will run real-data simulations of interesting and representative cases where hydrodynamic instability is present. The project team will select 5–10 real-data cases for consideration. Second, you will run a series of simulations initialised with an idealised jet stream with and without instability. The output from the real-data cases will be compared to that of the idealised cases. Through both the case studies and idealised simulations, you will diagnose and describe the stages in the life cycle of CAT. Thus, we anticipate developing a physically based diagnostic and forecasting approach to predict the release of the instability and account for its nonlocal behaviour.
Achieving impact is crucial to the success of this project, so you will be involved in promoting the research through attending and presenting at conferences (either in person or remotely); visiting Project Partners NOAA Aviation Weather Center, Met Office, and NCAR; co-organise a Royal Meteorological Society co-sponsored national meeting on clear-air turbulence; writing of a synthesis article for forecasters and the scientific community on hydrodynamic instability and clear-air turbulence; co-lead the group’s participation in outreach activities at the Farnborough Airshow in 2024 and the Yorkshire Air Museum; and be involved in other impact-related activities.
This project is a joint research project between the University of Manchester (Profs. David Schultz and Geraint Vaughan) and the University of Reading (Prof. Paul Williams), along with Project Partners NOAA Aviation Weather Center, Met Office, NCAR, Delta Air Lines, NATS, and the Yorkshire Air Museum.
As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit. http://www.seaes.manchester.ac.uk/about-us/athena-swan/
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Blended working arrangements may be considered
Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.
Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:
Name: Prof. David Schultz
This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.
Please see the link below for the Further Particulars document which contains the person specification criteria.