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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PhD funding on subsurface fires. Earth and Natural Sciences

A PhD studentship to study peat fires between University College Dublin and University of Edinburgh is available to a student of any nationality. We are most interested in engineers, physicists and chemists with a background on thermal sciences, some experience in laboratory work and an interest on Earth sciences. See below a brief description. For information and application, see PhD Programme in Earth and Natural Sciences at UCS.

Project BIO 3: Characterising the dynamics and environmental impact of subsurface
peat fires by controlled experiments

Principal Investigator: Dr Jon Yearsley (UCD) –
Collaborators: Claire Belcher (University of Edinburg); Guillermo Rein (University of Edinburg)

Fire is an increasing global threat to the carbon store and ecosystem services provided by peatlands (they contain 1/3 of terrestrial carbon). Peatland wildfires are extreme events that are becoming more frequent both in Ireland and internationally. Smouldering peat produces 5‐40% of annual global carbon emissions, but these are presently not accounted for by the IPCC7. They threaten the environment (e.g. habitat destruction and greenhouse gas emissions) and human health (e.g. air quality), but our understanding of these smouldering fires is poor compared to flaming fires. The core of the project will study sub‐surface peatland fire behaviour by performing experimental peat burns for a range environmental conditions. The student will develop the experimental protocol at the Centre for Fire Safety Engineering (University of Edinburgh) and then installed at UCD for the majority of the experimental manipulations. This project combines fire dynamics and Earth systems research and builds upon an existing collaboration between UCD and University of Edinburgh. The work has relevance to climate change mitigation/adaptation, managing peatland carbon stores against the risk of sub‐surface fires and the fundamental science of smouldering fire. We are looking for an outstanding student with interest in undertaking experimental research on the interface between fire dynamics, Earth systems and ecological modelling.
There is one PhD Studentship associated with this Project and will be based at UCD

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