PhD Studentship: Determining gas flux through the seabed using active and passive seismology and op

United Kingdom
Apr 29, 2016
Apr 28, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship: Determining gas flux through the seabed using active and passive seismology and optical techniques

Acoustics Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Friday 28 April 2017
Reference:  726316KR

Project Reference: ISVR-FDAG-131

Project Theme:  Acoustics, Energy and Climate Change, Fluid Dynamics and Water and Environment.


In order to reduce the load of carbon contained in the Earth’s atmosphere (and so reduce the effect this has on climate), depleted oil wells in the seabed beneath the North Sea will be pumped with atmospheric carbon to transform these depleted wells in ‘Carbon Capture and Storage’ (CCS) reservoirs. In preparation for this, methods will be developed to test our ability to check for leaks from such CCS reservoirs. Following a world-leading test in shallow waters (around 10 m deep) off Scotland [1], the same team is expanding in a pan-European collaboration to test the detection methods by placing sensors on the floor of the North Sea. This studentship will develop, as part of that team, acoustical and optical sensors in the laboratory, and then accompany the team on ships in the North Sea to deploy these sensors, then process the data afterwards in Southampton.


The amount of gas escaping in the form of bubbles will be measured through a number of techniques that will be cross-compared. These include passive sonar (‘the more bubbles that are released, the louder the sound of the leak’ – see, photography, and active sonar (where the scattering of echolocation sonar pings from the escaping bubble cloud allows us to estimate the size of the gas release).


Prior to the at-sea testing, the student will be able to develop technologies using the University’s labs and facilities, including the A. B. Wood Laboratory (an underground water tank containing 200 tonnes of water into which apparatus and measurement equipment will be deployed by crane). During the main North Sea experiment, the student will analyse data from autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), and seabed lander systems.

[1] Blackford, J., et al., (2014) Detection and impacts of leakage from sub-seafloor deep geological carbon dioxide storage, Nature Climate Change 4(11), 1011-1016 (doi: 10.1038/nclimate2381).

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Mrs. Clare Chapman, Acoustics research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 4943 / +44 (0)23 8059 24943.

To apply please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Further details:

  • Job Description and Person Specification