PhD Position: Terrestrial Feedback Mechanisms and Arctic Surface Temperatures During the Middle Pliocene

PhD position available investigating the role of terrestrial feedback mechanism in amplifying arctic surface temperatures during the Middle Pliocene (ArcAMP).
The Arctic is currently warming at an alarming rate; however, the various feedback mechanisms and how they co-operate to amplify Arctic temperatures still remain uncertain.  Important clues for solving some of these fundamental climate questions regarding Arctic amplification may be uncovered during the Pliocene (2.6 to 5.3 MYA). Although atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Pliocene were comparable to modern concentrations of ~ 400 ppm, Arctic temperatures were 10 to 20°C warmer than today.  This project will focus on the interaction among terrestrial feedback mechanisms and their role in amplifying Arctic surface temperatures.  In particular, we are interested in the net radiative impact of vegetation albedo, atmospheric water vapor, and black carbon emitted from fire on the Arctic climate system. This will be accomplished by conducting high-resolution reconstructions of past temperatures, atmospheric CO2, and fire for several high Arctic sites.  This is a collaborative project between the Global Climate and Ecology Lab at the University of Montana and the Paleoclimate Working Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.  The PhD student will work primarily at UM but will collaborate with a postdoctoral researcher at NCAR to conduct a series of climate experiments designed to disentangle these processes and how they interact to amplify Arctic surface temperatures.
We are mainly looking for curious and creative applicants who are interested in biosphere-atmosphere interactions that regulate climate.  Research experience in paleoclimate and/or paleoecology is desired.  This position will allow for travel to remote locations in the Canadian Arctic to conduct fairly rigorous field work for extended periods of time.  This PhD student will also be expected to engage with the larger international Arctic climate research community. 
To Apply: Interested applicants should send a complete CV and contact information of three references to Ashley Ballantyne ( 
Deadline: Review of applications will begin immediately, and the position will remain open until an excellent candidate is found.


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