Internship Vacancy: Met Office

Key information

Organisation: Met Office
Title: Historic UK heat waves: Where, How hot, How extensive?
Location: Exeter
Reference ID: 38733
Salary Description: £250 per week (from the Environmental Change Institute)
Flexible Start Date: 8 July 2017
Internship Duration: 8 Weeks

Organisation/Company Description

The Met Office is the UK's National Meteorological Service. As a world leader in providing weather and climate services, we employ around 2,000 staff at 60 locations throughout the world. We are recognised as one of the world's most accurate forecasters, using more than 10 million weather observations a day, an advanced atmospheric model and a high performance supercomputer to create 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings a day. These are delivered to a huge range of customers from the Government, to businesses, the general public, armed forces, and other organisations.

Project Details

Heat waves are relevant to a wide range of stakeholders owing to their impacts on many different sectors, including health, transport, agriculture and the natural environment. Most previous studies of heat waves have focused on the numbers and lengths only; very few have considered the areas affected. In this study, gridded daily maximum temperatures for the UK will be analysed for heat waves. Absolute thresholds will be employed so that heat waves will be defined as periods when a fixed temperature is reached or exceeded. Several different thresholds for daily maximum temperatures will be used, all of which would be considered unusually warm in the UK; for example, 25, 28 and 30°C.

A number of scientific questions will be answered, including identification of the heat waves with the largest contiguous spatial extents, and a study of any relationship between average or maximum temperatures and the heat wave areas. Any differences in the spatial extents and locations of areas affected by individual heat waves will be found. Trends and variability in heat wave temperatures and spatial extents will be studied, and the possible influence of indices such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation will be investigated. If there is sufficient time available, the analysis could be repeated using relative thresholds for each location.

Scientific questions to be answered:

  1. Which heat waves have the largest contiguous spatial extents?
  2. Are there any key differences in the spatial extents between heat waves – for example, the 2003 heat wave mainly affected south-east England whereas the 1976 heat wave covered large parts of England, Wales and small areas of Scotland.
  3. Is there any evidence for an increase in the areas affected by heat waves over time, and/or variability in the areas which might be associated with indices such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation?
  4. Is there any relationship between the average or highest temperatures and areas affected during heat waves?
  5. Have the average or highest temperatures in the heat waves changed with time?

If sufficient time is available, the analysis could be repeated using local (i.e. percentile-based) thresholds and compared with the results using absolute thresholds.

The results from this project would be used for a paper to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.

Applicant Profile

  • Self-motivated with a proactive approach to work.
  • Competent in programming within a Linux environment using (preferably) Python, or R or similar languages.
  • A good scientific / analytical background with a willingness to learn new skills.
  • A basic understanding of statistics, especially correlation, regression and sample testing.
  • Some experience of working with large data sets.
  • An interest in applying science in order to address real-world problems.

Apply for this internship

  1. You will need the internship reference ID for this post, which can be found at the top of this page
  2. Our internships are posted and managed thanks to our colleagues at the Internship Office, through CareerConnect. Simply log in with your University of Oxford SSO as an Oxford Student
  3. Once you have accessed the portal, you will find the internships under Vacancy Search - Current Vacancies and you can then search by Reference ID under Advanced Search
  4. Each internship description will describe How to Apply

This internship has been facilitated by the Environmental Change Institute.

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