Atmospheric ice nucleating particles - is there a fingerprint of past changes in polar snow and ice? PROJECT FILLED.

About the project or challenge area

Cloud droplets freeze homogeneously at temperatures below -37℃, but the presence of ice nucleating particles (INP) can induce freezing at much higher temperatures. Even small numbers of INP have a large impact on cloud optical properties. However, INP sources and their distribution are poorly understood, causing significant uncertainty in climate models. Recent observations suggest that some INP are preserved in polar snow and ice, making polar ice cores a potentially valuable source of information on INP abundance in polar regions over past centuries and millennia. In this project you will adapt an existing method to measure INP concentrations in polar snow and ice core samples, working closely with researchers at British Antarctic Survey.

Why choose this opportunity?

You will join a highly interdisciplinary team, develop excellent experimental and data analysis skills and apply them to a problem of real relevance to climate change.  You will also be working closely with the British Antarctic Survey. Dr Markus Frey and Dr Amelie Kirchgaessner from BAS would be co-supervisors, providing samples and scientific guidance.

About you

A background in physical chemistry or physics would be helpful.

Bench fees


How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Master's by Research Admissions Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Masters by Research Statement Template (Office document, 68kB).

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.



Your supervisor for this project will be Walther Schwarzacher, Professor of Physics in the School of Physics. You can contact him at +44 (0) 117 928 8709 or email .


Your co-supervisor for this project will be Dr Alison Rust from the School of Earth Sciences. You can contact her at +44 (0) 117 954 5303 or email .

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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