[ES_JOBS_NET] PhD in Fire-Atmospheric Interactions, New Zealand

Christine Wiedinmyer christin at ucar.edu
Wed May 17 10:58:11 MDT 2017

*Proposed PhD project title: *Atmospheric turbulence and its role in 
extreme fire
*Starting date:* As soon as possible in 2017
*Program:* Environmental Science
*Department: *Geography, Centre for Atmospheric Research at the 
University of  Canterbury, New Zealand.

This PhD project falls within a larger research program in collaboration 
with the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading known as 
Scion. The  University of Canterbury Centre for Atmospheric Research 
hosted at the Department of Geography would like to invite potential 
candidates for a funded 3-year PhD project. The PhD scholarship will 
cover tuition fees and provide a reasonable stipend.

Previous laboratory research has highlighted the importance of fire 
induced turbulence in maintaining and intensifying wildfire-spread rates 
through heat convection at the fire front area. Atmospheric background 
turbulence could play a major role in extreme fire behavior and act to 
modulate fire-induced turbulence. It is hypothesized that the 
atmospheric contribution to extreme fire-spread behavior will vary for 
different weather events, fuel properties, fire size and shape. As a 
result, the PhD student will participate in collecting and analyzing 
fire-atmospheric data from several planned experimental fire burns 
across New Zealand, and develop a comprehensive set of knowledge that 
could yield to a better understanding of fire-atmospheric interactions 
for extreme fire behavior. The experimental campaign will be coordinated 
between the University of Canterbury, Scion, Missoula Fire Sciences 
Laboratory, and San Jose State University. The PhD student is expected 
to work with researchers across the science and engineering disciplines.

We are looking for a PhD candidate with very good theoretical 
understanding of surface-atmospheric interactions with emphasis on 
turbulent energy exchange processes. The PhD candidate should have the 
flexibility and basic experience in working with microclimate field 
measurement equipment and is willing to spend some time aiding in the 
development and data collection from field experiments. Good analytical 
skills are required for this project with good experience in data 
processing software (e.g. Matlab, R, and/or Python).

Skills in spatiotemporal image analysis is also preferable as we aim to 
collect time sequential thermography data with infrared cameras for 
understanding the atmospheric turbulence structure at the surface behind 
and in front of the fire line. The PhD candidate is also anticipated to 
work closely with numerical weather modelers within our team to help in 
the results interpretation and overall research direction of the wider 

Please email your cover letter and CV to:
Dr. Marwan Katurji
Department of Geography, Centre for Atmospheric Research, University of 
Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 3694287, email: marwan.katurji at canterbury.ac.nz
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