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Postgraduate research project

Ocean influence on recent climate extremes

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

The last decade has seen an increasing number of extreme weather events (e.g. Fischer et al. 2021) which had significant societal impacts. Unprecedented heat waves and drought conditions in some regions have led to heat related deaths, widespread wildfires as well as reductions in agricultural yield while elsewhere floods have caused significant infrastructural damage and in some case loss of life.   

It is on land that these events are felt but in some instances they can be accompanied and sometimes preceded by temperature and salinity anomalies in the ocean. Recent examples include an anomalously cold region in the North Atlantic, a warm anomaly in the North Pacific as well as persistent La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific. There is increasing evidence that these ocean anomalies feed back onto the atmospheric circulation and contributed to the development of some recent extreme events (e.g. Mecking et al. 2019; Duchez et al. 2016).  To what extent these ocean anomalies are the result of changes in the ocean circulation or a response to local atmospheric forcing is far from fully understood. However, this is key to understanding mechanisms of seasonal to interannual predictability in the climate system and to improve preparedness for extreme weather events. 

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.

Lead supervisor

  • Doctor Joel Hirschi (National Oceanography Centre)


  • Doctor Jennifer Mecking (National Oceanography Centre)
  • Stephen Kelly (National Oceanography Centre)
  • Professor Robert Marsh (University of Southampton)
  • Doctor Adam Blaker (National Oceanography Centre)