Postgraduate research opportunities

Impact-based weather forecasting for the renewable energy sector

This UKRI-funded PhD project will explore the potential of impact-based forecasts of extreme weather events for the energy sector as it transitions to a net zero, low carbon future.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Equipment costs, Travel costs, Stipend

Opens

15 February 2021

Deadline

9 April 2021

Duration

3.5 years

Eligibility

A first class BEng/BSc Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g. Civil / Environmental Engineering or Physical Sciences). 

 This 3.5 year PhD comes with an UKRI fully-funded studentship, including fees, a generous stipend of £15,609 per annum, and a Research Training Support Grant of £1,500 per annum.

 The studentship is due to commence 01 October 2021 but will remain open until filled. While international and EU students are welcome to apply, candidates must, however, be classified as a UK ‘home’ student to be eligible for UKRI funding. To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following strict criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

 

Project Details

Over the next 20-30 years, the UK’s energy system will undergo significant change as it transitions to a low carbon, net zero, more sustainable world. This transition must be managed in the face of climate change, in which extreme events such as flooding and storms are becoming more frequent and severe, and other emerging hazards, such as heatwaves and wildfires, are becoming more prevalent.

Extreme weather-driven hazards have serious impacts on essential infrastructure, including energy systems and the essential services they provide for power, food, water, and transport. The resilience of our electricity system to extreme weather events – in particular its ability to prepare for and prevent interruptions to supply of power, and the ability of society to follow warnings to protect its citizens and provide essential services in event of electricity outages – requires wider evaluation. The challenge is how can we better prepare the renewable energy sector for high-impact extreme events?

 Accurate weather forecasts alone are not sufficient. Forecasts and warnings are evolving from not just forecasting the likelihood of weather events, such as heavy rainfall or storms, but forecasting their impacts. Impact-based approaches to risk communication – both to the public and to sectoral stakeholders – have been shown to better build trust in warning systems, leading to more effective actions. As we move to a net zero, renewable energy world, there is a need to develop timely new approaches that integrate impact-based forecasting with co-design and risk-based information that is shared and communicated to enhance the energy network’s resilience and response to extreme events.

 The Centre for Water, Environment, Sustainability & Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, in collaboration with ETH Zürich, is looking for an motivated PhD candidate to undertake research that addresses the challenge of extreme weather events facing the energy sector by exploring the potential of next generation impact-based forecasts. The research work will: explore the correlations between extreme weather events, energy provision, outages and energy demand in response to more frequent extreme weather phenomena in a changing climate; co-develop scenarios, tools and impact- and risk-based models for the prediction and assessment of energy-sector relevant extreme events; and explore the opportunities and benefits of impact-based forecasting for the energy sector on different spatial scales (e.g., between city, suburban, and rural locations, or between regional and national scales) and forecasting time scales (e.g., nowcasting, numerical weather prediction, long-range probabilistic forecasting).

 The ideal candidate should have a desire to work in an interdisciplinary, applications-focused field of growing importance. He/she will be a practical self-motivated person who will lead the development and direction of their project. Applicants should hold (or expect to get) a minimum of an upper second class honours degree or an MSc with distinction in engineering, physical sciences, maths, or a related field. Some programming experience in analytical languages such as MATLAB, Python or R would be beneficial. A background in HPC-based computer modelling and/or statistics is desirable but not essential. Students with some prior research and / or work experience in the climatological / meteorological / hydrological sciences will be given priority.

Funding Details

Fully Funded – SRSS (SEA) DTG (EPSRC), fees and UKRI-level stipend

Further information

For further information on the studentship, please contact Dr Chris White.