Ph.D. Position in Northern Hydrometeorology in University of Northern British Columbia

author: admin
January 22, 2013

Open Position: Ph.D. in Northern Hydrometeorology in University of Northern British Columbia

The position (4-year of financial support) will begin in September 2013 and an application (due by 25 January 2013) will consist of a cover letter with your expression of interest and experience in remote sensing, a curriculum vitae, and the names of two potential references to be sent to electronically to Stephen Déry at The successful candidate will then be required to submit an application (due by 15 February 2013) for entry to the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES) graduate program at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) situated in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

Job Description
This project will investigate a possible amplification of climate change, driven by the snow-ice/albedo feedback, in the water towers of the QRB. Multiple datasets will be used in this project. Of note, space-borne instruments now provide high resolution maps of the distribution of snow, clouds, and surface albedo. Among recent satellites with snow-detection capabilities are NASA’s Earth Observing System Terra and Aqua spacecrafts. Each carries a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) with 36 visible and infrared channels that are used to construct snowcover maps at spatial resolutions of 500 m on a daily basis. Following some of our previous work, MODIS snowcover data for the Quesnel River Basin will be extracted for the snowmelt period each year from 2000 onward. Cloud and surface albedo products from MODIS with 500 m resolution will also be extracted to evaluate the interannual variability of these fields and their relationship to the snowcover. The remote sensing products will be used in conjunction with a DEM and in-situ snow and radiation data.

The receipt of direct solar radiation at the surface varies greatly in space and time over complex terrain such as the Cariboo Mountains. Cloudiness, vegetation, slope, aspect, and time of year and day all affect the incoming shortwave radiation whereas the albedo controls the amount absorbed at the surface. Combining the DEM, algorithms for the potential solar radiation at the surface, and MODIS maps of clouds and surface albedo, we will estimate the potential influence of the snow-ice/albedo feedback on the radiation budget of the QRB. We will establish the range of daily albedo values at the pixel level and how this varies with topography. In addition, the interannual variability in the surface albedoes will be quantified along with its relationship to climatological parameters. Following Qu and Hall the snow-ice/albedo feedback will then be estimated. We will also explore whether elevation influences the strength of this positive feedback on warming.

Additional Salary Information: A stipend will be offered to the successful candidate for a minimum of 4 years. There will also be opportunities to obtain teaching assistantships during the course of the program.

A recent graduate of a Master’s degree in the environmental, physical or natural sciences or engineering. Experience with remote sensing, management of large databases, and computer programming will be an asset. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. UNBC is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

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