PhD Research Project: CENTA NERC - Multi-decadal variability of Drivers of Extremes in the East-Asi

United Kingdom
Nov 30, 2016
Jan 23, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Climate over eastern Asia is mainly characterized by the East-Asian summer monsoon (EASM), the related formation of the quasi-stationary Changma-Baiu-Meiyu frontal system, and the occurrence of tropical cyclones (TCs). Possible changes of the EASM and the occurrence of extreme tropical cyclones under enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations could have high impact on society and economy of one of the most densely populated regions of the globe.

Regional decision processes for the development of suitable adaptation strategies or the timely initiation of related mitigation efforts in East Asia will strongly depend on robust and comprehensive information about future near-term as well as long-term potential changes in the climate system. Based on physical process understanding, it is important to quantify the regional effects of global or hemispheric scale phenomena for both, the scientific community to understand potential changes and the impact community (incl. decision makers) to act proactively in the most suitable manner. The three most important aspects in this context are the provision of a) relevant, timely, and b) comprehensive information about potential changes as well as c) information about the quality of the confidence in the information.
FUCHA-TC is aimed at analysing and assessing economic losses caused by TCs in the East Asian region. Additionally different adaptation measures damping future losses should be compared. The main goals are to I) establish a relationship between observed TCs and observed economic losses triggered by them, in order to ii) predict possible future changes in frequency and intensity, thereby estimating a change in damage for the climate predictions and eventually to iii) decide which adaptation strategies are suitable for the East Asian region given the future changes of TCs.
This study will be embedded in the project FOREX (Fostering Regional Decision Making by the Assessment of Uncertainties of Future Regional Extremes and their Linkage to Global Climate System Variability for China and East Asia), which is part of the Met Office CSSP China project funded by the Newton fund. FOREX aims to analyse changes of local and regional extreme events (TCs, EASM) under changed future climate conditions using a huge amount of different climate projection datasets (CMIP3, CMIP5, Perturbed-physic ensembles) with a strong focus on climate change signals on longer time-scales.

FUCHA-TC consists of three work-packages (WP):
WP1: Establishing a relationship between observed TCs and observed economic losses caused by them. This is done by developing a statistical model which is trained on real economic loss data.
WP2: This WP aims to assess changes in frequency and intensity of TCs under changed greenhouse gas concentrations for a range of CMIP5 models featuring different emission scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5)
WP3: The estimated changes in TCs for future scenarios will then be translated into potential future economic losses by the estimated relation (“damage function”) developed in WP1 using a simple opensource CAT model. The CAT model also provides the possibility to simulate adaptation measures in order to protect entities from the impact of natural hazards. Different adaptation strategies should be tested and compared for example through a cost-benefit ratio.

Funding Notes

In addition to completing an online application form, you will also need to complete and submit the CENTA studentship application form available from

CENTA studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In addition to the full payment of their tuition fees, successful candidates will receive the following financial support.

Annual stipend, set at £14,296 for 2016/17
Research training support grant (RTSG) of £8,000

CENTA students are required to undertake from 45 days training throughout their PhD including a 10 day placement.


Befort DJ, S. Wild, T Kruschke, U Ulbrich, and GC Leckebusch, 2016: Different Long-term Trends of Extra-tropical Cyclones and Windstorms in ERA-20C and NOAA-20CR Reanalyses. Atmospheric Science Letters, in press.
Donat M. G.; Pardowitz T.; Leckebusch G.C., Ulbrich, U., and O. Burghoff, 2011: High-resolution refinement of a storm loss model and estimation of return periods of loss-intensive storms over Germany. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2821-2833. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-11-2821-2011.
Donat, M.G., G.C. Leckebusch, S. Wild, and U. Ulbrich, 2011: Future changes in European winter storm losses and extreme wind speeds inferred from GCM and RCM multi-model simulations. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1351-1370.
Held, H., F.-W. Gerstengarbe, T. Pardowitz, J.G. Pinto, U. Ulbrich, U. Boehm, K. Born, M. Buechner, M.G. Donat, M.K. Karremann, G.C. Leckebusch, P. Ludwig, K.M. Nissen, T. Nocke, H. Oesterle, B.F. Prahl, P.C. Werner, O. Burghoff, 2013: Projections of global warming-induced impacts on winter storm losses in the German private household sector. Climatic Change, Volume 121, Issue 2, pp 195-207. DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0872-7.
Kruschke, T., Rust, H.W., Kadow, C., Leckebusch, G.C., and Ulbrich, U., 2014: Evaluating Decadal Predictions of Northern Hemispheric Cyclone Frequencies. Tellus A, 66, 22830,
Leckebusch, G.C., D. Renggli, and U. Ulbrich, 2008: Development and Application of an Objective Storm Severity Measure for the Northeast Atlantic Region. Meteorol. Z., Vol. 17, No. 5, 575-587. DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2008/0323.
Renggli, D., G.C. Leckebusch, U. Ulbrich, S.N. Gleixner, E. Faust, 2011: The skill of seasonal ensemble prediction systems to forecast wintertime windstorm frequency over the North Atlantic and Europe. Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 139, 3052–3068. doi: 10.1175/2011MWR3518.1.

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