School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Scholarships

Victoria University Scholarships

Many scholarships are available for students at Victoria University, through the Scholarships Office.  

The office maintains the Scholarships Database, a comprehensive searchable database listing all available scholarships with criteria, value, tenure and closing dates. Most application forms can be downloaded from this database. For best results when searching the database, keep the search terms broad. 

The office also welcomes enquiries from students and staff. Please contact us by email or drop in to 10 Kelburn Parade between 8.00am and 4.30pm.

 

The School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences' Scholarships

Reconstructing Wellington fossil fuel CO2 emissions from tree rings

Location: GNS Science National Isotope Centre in Gracefield, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Duration:   2 years
Deadline for applications:  25 January 2015

Emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion are the dominant driver of atmospheric CO2 increases and the current observed global warming. Urban areas contribute 75% of global fossil CO2 emissions with contributions from vehicle use, industry and electricity generation, and urban areas are leading the way in reducing emissions through planning and local regulation. For example, increasing public transport availability decreases private vehicle use and reduces fossil CO2 emissions. Detailed information on current and past emissions is needed to help urban areas make decisions on the best strategies for reducing their emissions. Measuring current CO2 emissions accurately is not easy - but finding out what they were in the past is even more difficult.

This project aims to reconstruct fossil fuel CO2 concentrations in the Wellington atmosphere from the 1920s until present, using measurements of the radiocarbon content of tree rings collected in and around Wellington. The radiocarbon content of CO2 is then used to determine fossil fuel CO2 concentrations. We expect to see increases in the fossil CO2 concentration associated with the increase in fossil CO2 emissions through time.

The successful candidate will be part of a team developing this exciting new method for reconstructing past CO2 emissions. The Masters project will involve preparing and measuring tree ring samples for radiocarbon content, and interpreting and writing up the results. There is potential to include some laboratory method development, improving the tree ring sample preparation methods. The project may involve field work in Wellington collecting tree cores. Interpretation of the results requires strong data analysis skills, at minimum a strong grasp of Excel is needed and the student will be expected to know or learn a scientific programming package such as MatLab. Data analysis will include comparison of the observational results with atmospheric transport models, and may require some modelling work. In addition to completing the thesis requirements, the student will be expected to present their research at a conference and submit a publication on the results.

The successful candidate will receive an annual stipend (amount to be negotiated depending on experience). The research project and lab work will be based at the GNS Science National Isotope Centre in Gracefield, Lower Hutt. The successful candidate will be expected to work onsite at Gracefield when not participating in university classes. The student may be expected to contribute to related research projects at GNS beyond the scope of the thesis work. We will consider students who are beginning either their first or second year of a Masters program. Start date in early 2015.

Enquiries and applications including current CV should be submitted by email before January 25th, 2015 to: Dr Jocelyn Turnbull GNS Science j.turnbull@gns.cri.nz (04) 570 4726

For more information about VUW SGEES, visit www.victoria.ac.nz/sgees

For more information about GNS, visit www.gns.cri.nz

 

Antarctic sea ice trends and variability

Location:   Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration:   3 years from March 2015
Deadline for applications:  31 January 2015

A new fully-funded PhD scholarship is available, to study trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, with a focus on the opposing trends over the Ross and Amundsen Sea regions, using the observational record during the satellite era (since 1979). This is an exciting opportunity to do cutting-edge research in an area of great interest to the climate community worldwide. The student will be based at Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences (SGEES), in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

The PhD project aims to understand observed trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, including their seasonal variability and their evolution on the decadal time scale. The student will make use of satellite-observed sea ice concentrations and ice motion data, plus atmospheric reanalyses and simulated ocean surface wave conditions to explore atmosphere-ice linkages and teleconnections to tropical and other forcings. A variety of statistical approaches will be employed to explore relationships and for physically-based hypothesis testing. A component of the work will involve evaluation of the performance of the current era of climate models (CMIP5 and CMIP6 as available) in terms of simulating the Antarctic sea ice field, and observed linkages and teleconnections.

The chief supervisor of the work will be Professor James Renwick (VUW), working in collaboration with Dr Sam Dean at NIWA, and with advice from Professor Marilyn Raphael (UCLA) and Professor Ian Simmonds (U. Melbourne).

The successful student should have a background in climate dynamics and/or meteorology, and ideally some familiarity with statistical analysis of large gridded data set (e.g. reanalyses) using standard techniques such as Empirical Orthogonal Functions and cluster analysis.

This PhD project is one component of a larger programme to understand and model trends in Antarctic sea ice, funded by the Marsden Fund (administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand). The modelling component of the overall programme supports a second PhD scholarship. There will be considerable liaison between the observational and modelling components of the work so the successful student is likely to gain some insights into climate modelling as well as experience in climate data analysis.

Send a letter of application, plus a copy of your CV and academic transcripts, to Prof. James Renwick at james.renwick@vuw.ac.nz. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2015. We aim to award the scholarship and have the student in place by March 2015.

For more information about VUW SGEES, visit www.victoria.ac.nz/sgees

For more information about NIWA, visit www.niwa.co.nz

 

Antarctic sea ice modelling

Location:  Victoria University of Wellington, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration:   3 years from March 2015
Deadline for applications:  31 January 2015

A new fully-funded PhD scholarship is available, to improve our ability to model trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, especially the recently-observed overall increase in total extent, and the opposing trends over the Ross and Amundsen Sea regions. This is an exciting opportunity to do cutting-edge research in an area of great interest to the climate community worldwide. The student will be enrolled at Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, but will spend much of their time at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA) in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

The research project is built around improving our ability to simulate trends in Antarctic sea ice extent using the HadGEM coupled ocean-atmosphere-ice GCM developed at the UK MetOffice. Recent work by us has suggested that changes in ocean waves may play a role in Antarctic sea ice extent trends (see Nature, doi:10.1038/nature13262). The student will investigate this hypothesis, using the full HadGEM GCM, and the individual modules, especially the sea ice module ‘CICE’. A major part of the work will involve incorporation of floe size distributions and the influence of ocean surface waves upon the sea ice field in CICE, to produce what is termed the ‘WAVE-CICE’ scheme. Determining a numerical scheme for predicting change to the floe-size distribution under a given wave regime will come from a combination of existing and planned observational campaigns and from the existing literature. The development of WAVE-CICE will be a new and exciting step forward for the climate modelling community world-wide.

Once implemented, WAVE-CICE and other components of the HadGEM modelling system will be used to carry out a series of sensitivity experiments to help determine the controlling factors of recently-observed trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, and to explore possible futures for the Antarctic sea ice field.

The chief supervisor of the work will be Dr Sam Dean at NIWA, with co-supervision from Dr Alison Kohout (NIWA Christchurch) and advice from Professor Cecilia Bitz (U. Washington, Seattle).

The successful student should have a background in climate dynamics and/or meteorology, and some familiarity with climate modelling, ideally with experience of HadGEM.

This PhD project is one component of a larger programme to understand and model trends in Antarctic sea ice, funded by the Marsden Fund (administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand). The observational component of the overall programme supports a second PhD scholarship. There will be considerable liaison between the observational and modelling components of the work so the successful student is likely to gain some insights into climate data analysis as well as experience in climate modelling and model development.

Send a letter of application, plus a copy of your CV and academic transcripts, to Prof. James Renwick at james.renwick@vuw.ac.nz. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2015. We aim to award the scholarship and to have the student in place by March 2015.

For more information about VUW SGEES, visit www.victoria.ac.nz/sgees

For more information about NIWA, visit www.niwa.co.nz