Research Fellow in Dynamical Simulation of Earth’s Magnetic Field

University of Leeds

Leeds, United Kingdom

Job posting number: #7069583 (Ref:ENVEE1418)

Posted: September 9, 2020

Job Description

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in geophysics, computational fluid dynamics or applied mathematics and an interest in applying your skills to understand the dynamics and evolution of Earth’s core? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading research intensive Universities?

We are seeking a Research Fellow to fulfil a key role in our project by developing computer simulations that describe the fluid dynamics of Earth’s core and the generation of the geomagnetic field in order to: 1) provide constraints on the evolution of global mantle circulation models, and; 2) elucidate the origin of rapid changes in the direction and strength of Earth’s magnetic field. You will be based in the Deep Earth Research Group within the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds and work closely with Dr. Chris Davies. You will be part of a large interdisciplinary team and will collaborate closely with partners at Cardiff University (led by Prof. Huw Davies), University of Liverpool (led by Prof. Andy Biggin) and University of California San Diego (led by Prof. Catherine Constable). This work is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) large grant “Mantle Circulation Constrained” led by Cardiff University and the NSF-NERC grant “On the origin of extreme variations in Earth’s magnetic field” between the University of Leeds and UC San Diego.  

You will begin by using an existing code to simulate rotating convection and magnetic field generation in a configuration that represents Earth’s liquid core, focusing on the role of heat flow variations at the core-mantle boundary (CMB) and stable regions at the top of the core. You will conduct detailed analysis of the solutions to characterise the dominant dynamics and relate observable properties of the generated magnetic fields to the control parameters. You will then quantitatively assess the semblance between simulated and observed magnetic fields on timescales ranging from millennia to millions of years. Results from this analysis will be coupled to a global mantle circulation model to produce synthetic paleomagnetic observables over the last 1 billion years. You will also conduct a detailed analysis to define the spatial and temporal characteristics of rapid changes in the strength and direction of the simulated fields. The investigation will determine the physical processes in the core that cause rapid field changes and their potential relation to stable regions at the top of the core and lateral heat flow variations at the CMB.

You will have a PhD or near completion (i.e. the initial thesis needs to have been handed in at the point of application) in geophysics, physics, applied mathematics or a similar discipline with a strong background in computational fluid dynamics. You will also have the ability to conduct independent research and evidence of peer-reviewed publications in international journals. In addition, you will have excellent communication, planning, and team working skills.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr Chris Davies

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 1140, email:

Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Environment
School/Institute:  School of Earth and Environment
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
due to funding limitations we will be unable to appoint above £34,804 p.a.
Working Time:  100% - We will consider job share / flexible working arrangements
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (until 30 September 2024)
Release Date:  Monday 07 September 2020
Closing Date:  Wednesday 07 October 2020
Reference:  ENVEE1418

The University community is made up of a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances, which we value and regard as a great asset. As part of our continued commitment to equality and inclusion, we strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and have a real opportunity to participate in and contribute to our activities.

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