Determining and attributing CO2 emissions using measurements of multiple species and vertical structure

3 minute read


This project is no longer accepting new applications until further notice.

Under the Paris Agreement, signatory countries such as Canada and Australia submit national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets every five years. Each of these non-binding national plans, or “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs), are required to be more ambitious than the previous one.

The PhD candidate participating in this project will use ground-based and satellite remote sensing measurements of the atmosphere in combination with regional inversion models focusing on Canada and, time permitting, Australia, to assess, identify, and quantify regional emissions of carbon dioxide.

The PhD candidate will emerge with a thorough knowledge of atmospheric inverse systems and remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases. They will have experience in analysis of large and complex data sets and on advanced techniques of statistical inference. They will also have a thorough knowledge of the controlling processes of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Project goals

The goals of this project are to:

  1. Use recent advances in retrieving vertical information from ground-based and satellite-based measurements to help localize sources and test the vertical transport of the atmospheric models.
  2. Use a multi-species inversion approach to more accurately attribute the sources. This work will provide a powerful mechanism for verifying NDCs.

Supervision team

The University of Melbourne: Professor Peter Rayner

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The University of Toronto: Assistant Professor Debra Wunch and Professor Dylan Jones

Who we are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate with the following skills:

  • Demonstrated experience in the field of science (physics, mathematics or chemistry).
  • Demonstrated experience with scientific computation.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date).
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities.

Further details

The PhD candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two research environments.

Professor Peter Rayner at the University of Melbourne will contribute expertise in atmospheric modelling and statistical inference. Assistant Professor Debra Wunch will contribute expertise in the area of remote sensing. Professor Dylan Jones at the University of Toronto will contribute expertise in atmospheric modelling.

This PhD project will be based at the University of Toronto with a minimum 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne.

The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD program at the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, and in the PhD program at the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

This project is no longer accepting new applications until further notice.

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