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Dissertation Suggestions

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Hi all,

 

In the next couple of months I really need to be deciding what my 3rd year Dissertation is going to be. Im currently doing BSc Geography and really want to do a dissertation around climate/meteorology.

 

I would love some ideas that could perhaps cover at least one of the following areas....

 

  • A topic/area that is relatively underdeveloped
  • A topic which covers an area of existing knowledge but could be used to support study in a specific location.
  • An existing topic but perhaps with an area where there is some gap in knowledge

Some current initial ideas I have surround Atmospheric Circulation, effect of urban heat islands, rain shadow effects etc???

 

Any other ideas and/or ideas to expand the above ideas would be awesome.

 

Thanks. :)

 

 

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Something which I believe is possible and that would be the re-introduction of water back into the Sahara Desert through the use of solar power and desalination plants - there are several dried out lakes in the region, some of which are below sea level.

With some water being brought back into the region it would have some effect on the local climates - it would provide the opportunity for increased cultivation and generally better the lot of local inhabitants.

The planting of trees would gradually assist the process of hydration since they would expel water vapour but we could return this region back to its state of some 6000 years ago.

Bound to take several generations to get through the whole lot but every journey starts with the first step - it will also take a considerable investment to start it off but eventually it would get to a point where it is self sustaining, after which making a profit.

Hopefully it would also take up some of the CO2 and put something of a brake on global warming.

With the increases in population in Africa and agricultural land being decreased by the continual encroachment of the desert we really need to do something to reverse this trend.

I would suggest that all this is within our technical ability though the politics of the region may be a different matter but this is where education comes in.

Edited by mike Meehan
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Well I did mine on solar activity and climate of NW Europe....though only got 62% (2:1) on it so it certainly could have been better!

 

Just do it on something that interests you....I know it sounds obvious but it really is important, otherwise you can get bored writing it up. My dissertations (one 13,000 words, one 6000 words) were the reason I didn't get a 1st and believe me you'll kick yourself after if you don't put 100% effort in!

Edited by CreweCold
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The has been quite a lot on urban heat islands recently. How about the impact  of climate change on the world's water resources. It affects millions of people and you could be area specific.

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Im in the same situation doing BSC Geography and need to think what I want to do for my dissertation next year! Not something I look forward to, I was thinking something on Disaster Management for mine though! What uni are you at?

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A study on the micro climate of Shropshire is needed at some point, especially our summer's :lol:

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My mum suggested something along the lines of flooding in the somerset levels.... But id rather know why its taken since late january to get snow to scandi as a whole......are our winters going to start coming later ie march last year and possibly this...or are we heading back to winters of the 1990s ie milder? Is it a blip? Too many questions.....

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All you need for your dissertation is some lateral thinking something thats maybe an enhancement on current thinking on various other studies and show your understanding and knowledge....reading and acknowledgement of your sources in the end are enough to get yourself a 1st.... You just need to present your understanding of the subject and present it.....ive done it twice and got a 2:1 & 1st but with anthropology and forensic chemistry.....ps im still looking for a job.... Applied for 24, nothing heard back from any of them.....

Edited by WillinGlossop

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Flooding would be quite an interesting one. Could link with atmospheric/oceanic circulations/drivers I suppose or do you think even that could start becoming too complex for a 10,000 word dissertation?

 

Or how formulate it into an interesting, easy enough to research topic?

Edited by Blizzards

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One thing you shouldnt do is water it down but dont go too indepth....you just need to focus on one subject/question... Plus if its scientific you can test a theory and get it wrong ( but write through your findings) and you can still get a first but remember 10,000 words sounds a lot, and it is, but you may well find you are cutting bits out as references as it gets too long..... My forensic one was 5000 over i had to cut and rewrite twice to get it right....

Edited by WillinGlossop

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Think my only concern with a project around flooding and atmospheric drivers is getting enough data to make a comprehensive enough yet not too complex evaluation.

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Hi all, been really thinking about my dissertation this last week. After ploughing through some literature what struck me was that a lot of people are very uncertain of ENSO's influence especially around Europe and in particular the UK. 

 

Therefore I thought it might be interesting given all the floods we have had recently, to see if there is any correlation between ENSO and mean river discharge for a number of rivers around the UK. I know a site where there is lots of river flow etc data about for many rivers. Then I could compare against the ENSO index. Does it go past 1950 though? If so can anyone point me to this data.

 

In the literature,  a few people have conducted a study about ENSO and climate in Europe but no one seems to have studied ENSO and river discharge/flow etc in the UK at least or not much that I can find so it seems a pretty original topic and when quickly browsing through some data for the River Severn for example, not always but El Nino years especially in winter seemed to be showing a slightly higher likelihood of higher mean flows and higher river discharges overall. So I thought given ENSO is something that can to some extent be forecasted e.g. right now there are forecasts of El Nino developing this summer or fall then I hought it would be interesting to study whether ENSO could be used as an analogue for a higher risk of flooding in the UK and therefore whether El Nino years should act as a period for increased monitoring and preparedness in flooding prone regions.

 

What are peoples thoughts on this? Thought it seemed relatively unique to the UK at least whilst linking a very hot topic at the moment. Also, not only will it try and help further see if there is any link with ENSO and the UK climate, probably testing seasonal differences but it also takes it to a more applied level i.e River management and flood hazard.

Edited by Blizzards

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Hi all, been really thinking about my dissertation this last week. After ploughing through some literature what struck me was that a lot of people are very uncertain of ENSO's influence especially around Europe and in particular the UK. 

 

Therefore I thought it might be interesting given all the floods we have had recently, to see if there is any correlation between ENSO and mean river discharge for a number of rivers around the UK. I know a site where there is lots of river flow etc data about for many rivers. Then I could compare against the ENSO index. Does it go past 1950 though? If so can anyone point me to this data.

 

 

I'm mainly interested in ENSO events and the effect on global history in the17th century but the following may help. Don't know how far your river data goes back.

 

Gergis and Fowler, 'A history of ENSO events', . Some of these dates differ slightly from those listed by Diaz and Markgraf, El Nino, , but this often reflects the fact that ENSO events often occur in winter and thus span two calendar years.

 

 

  Mcintosh, The way the wind blows,, displays proxy data for Pacific Ocean temperatures around the Galapagos Islands that reveal the 1630s and 1640s as the greatest anomaly in the entire series 1600-2000.

 

Jones, Climatic variations, 388-9, shows no coral formation at all in 1641 at Urvina Bay, in the Galapagos - the only year of zero growth ever recorded.

 

For the weaker monsoons, and the suggestion that these ret1ect a reduction in solar energy received on earth, see Zhang, 'A test of climate:

 

The Gergis and Fowler book is a history of ENSO events since AD 1525: implications for future climate change.

 

Probably not much use but you never know.

 

Malcolm

 

Edited by knocker

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Can't come up with a topic for you, however I've supervised hundreds of dissertations. You have already identified the need to focus very narrowly on a 'gap' of some description, and your aim must not be to save the world but to look at something narrow that my have implications at a broader level. Sometimes small local studies fit in with this well for example, or a little developed area of our knowledge. Beyond this 'basic' I have three cardinal rules:

1. Interest - you have to be passionate about it, as this is a deep area of study that will draw on all of your mental energies for a period of time.

2. Literature - there must be an academic literature on the subject for your conceptual framework, theories, concepts, critiques of these etc; these will also set up your 'gap'.

3. Access to data - that it is researchable via the data you gather, and that your data gathering methodologies and analyses are consistent with the requirements of the piece of work.

Read the marking guidelines very clearly if you have these or something similar; these days we have very little discretion to move away from what is prescribed, even if it is an excellent piece of work that has been done unconventionally, but don't get me started on that!

 

Good Luck:)

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Hi all, been really thinking about my dissertation this last week. After ploughing through some literature what struck me was that a lot of people are very uncertain of ENSO's influence especially around Europe and in particular the UK.  Therefore I thought it might be interesting given all the floods we have had recently, to see if there is any correlation between ENSO and mean river discharge for a number of rivers around the UK. I know a site where there is lots of river flow etc data about for many rivers. Then I could compare against the ENSO index. Does it go past 1950 though? If so can anyone point me to this data. In the literature,  a few people have conducted a study about ENSO and climate in Europe but no one seems to have studied ENSO and river discharge/flow etc in the UK at least or not much that I can find so it seems a pretty original topic and when quickly browsing through some data for the River Severn for example, not always but El Nino years especially in winter seemed to be showing a slightly higher likelihood of higher mean flows and higher river discharges overall. So I thought given ENSO is something that can to some extent be forecasted e.g. right now there are forecasts of El Nino developing this summer or fall then I hought it would be interesting to study whether ENSO could be used as an analogue for a higher risk of flooding in the UK and therefore whether El Nino years should act as a period for increased monitoring and preparedness in flooding prone regions. What are peoples thoughts on this? Thought it seemed relatively unique to the UK at least whilst linking a very hot topic at the moment. Also, not only will it try and help further see if there is any link with ENSO and the UK climate, probably testing seasonal differences but it also takes it to a more applied level i.e River management and flood hazard.

Perhaps something has already been done on this, but maybe you could look that the prevalence of blocking highs in the North Atlantic under different ENSO states using the ncep or other reanalysis data. It could be something to tie in with your river discharge data too
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Can't come up with a topic for you, however I've supervised hundreds of dissertations. You have already identified the need to focus very narrowly on a 'gap' of some description, and your aim must not be to save the world but to look at something narrow that my have implications at a broader level. Sometimes small local studies fit in with this well for example, or a little developed area of our knowledge. Beyond this 'basic' I have three cardinal rules:

1. Interest - you have to be passionate about it, as this is a deep area of study that will draw on all of your mental energies for a period of time.

2. Literature - there must be an academic literature on the subject for your conceptual framework, theories, concepts, critiques of these etc; these will also set up your 'gap'.

3. Access to data - that it is researchable via the data you gather, and that your data gathering methodologies and analyses are consistent with the requirements of the piece of work.

Read the marking guidelines very clearly if you have these or something similar; these days we have very little discretion to move away from what is prescribed, even if it is an excellent piece of work that has been done unconventionally, but don't get me started on that!

 

Good Luck:)

Thanks for your advice. Its certainly an area which interests me particularly with flooding as I would like to perhaps have a career in this area in future. What are your thoughts of my idea above as a potential dissertation (Posted on the 7th March)? Would be good to hear if people think its feasible and potentially worth the attention.

 

Its certainly a hot topic and I feel at least, tries to further improve an issue, that being ENSO and uncertainty around it to try and find some links or information that hasnt too well been uncovered yet. My plan with this idea is to compare with different rivers around the UK, i.e Severn, Thames, Tweed and maybe one or two more to compare any differences with the UK. Perhaps I would expect any correlation to decrease the further North one goes. Or if it was possible, it would be to have a look at data for Western Europe but obtaining data for this might be more tricky. Whilst a few studies have looked at ENSO and rivers before, no one seems to have done it around Europe and especially the UK so in terms of this part of the world, it appears to be a relatively unique study, so would this count as filling gaps in the  literature too?

Edited by Blizzards

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I like the sound of what you propose, it seems to tick the boxes. Are there current theories that you would wish to 'test' or 'explore'? (Sorry if I missed that bit, I am not a weather expert, just enthusiast.) I know this may sound like questioning the obvious, but you have to be clear on the difference between theoretical work in an area and work that simply describes and compares without extrapolating to theory. Amongst my current batch of dissertation students who submitted last week, around 5 out of 20 will never grasp the difference and so miss their target. Again though, it may be different in your academic area regarding the theoretical component of the work.

Loads of good luck:)

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Perhaps something around whether weather patterns are becoming longer lasting than was previously in the case, and the potentials impacts if this was the case.

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Hi all, with my latest idea about ENSO, some of the literature seems rather confusing, perhaps making this interesting to study. From what ive read, El Nino seems to bring wetter conditions across Europe especially in the south and drier across scandinavia and the North of the UK whilst La Nina is somewhat opposite. I just want to keep this in the UK now for access of data purposes. Was getting very complex doing it on a wider scale.

 

My lecturer was telling me that whatever correlation I found, I need to be able to suggest causes. Now, changes in atmospheric pressure are what shift rainfall patterns thus I was told I should probably test the correlation between ENSO and atmospheric pressure too. Do you think its best to measure that in the UK too or use pressure data from Iceland or the Aleutian Islands area as they are areas of semi permanent low pressure. 

 

Any thoughts on this and if anyone could point me to a link with past sea level pressure data especially for Iceland, The Aleutian Islands area etc that would be great.

 

I should note for simplification purposes, for now at least, I think I am just going to be focussing on precipitation/pressure and ignoring the rivers component for now at least.

Edited by Blizzards

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Hi all, with my latest idea about ENSO, some of the literature seems rather confusing, perhaps making this interesting to study. From what ive read, El Nino seems to bring wetter conditions across Europe especially in the south and drier across scandinavia and the North of the UK whilst La Nina is somewhat opposite. I just want to keep this in the UK now for access of data purposes. Was getting very complex doing it on a wider scale.

 

My lecturer was telling me that whatever correlation I found, I need to be able to suggest causes. Now, changes in atmospheric pressure are what shift rainfall patterns thus I was told I should probably test the correlation between ENSO and atmospheric pressure too. Do you think its best to measure that in the UK too or use pressure data from Iceland or the Aleutian Islands area as they are areas of semi permanent low pressure. 

 

Any thoughts on this and if anyone could point me to a link with past sea level pressure data especially for Iceland, The Aleutian Islands area etc that would be great.

 

I should note for simplification purposes, for now at least, I think I am just going to be focussing on precipitation/pressure and ignoring the rivers component for now at least.

 

Hi Blizzards, I think this is very relevant to your dissertation http://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/features/11590/el-nino-high-altitude-highway

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Sorry to post again but was having another think and came up with this....

 

The NAO has been done against precipitation before at my uni (though not with river discharges) but how about a study using a couple of rivers in a region, one large and one small and study their correlations/responses to a few teleconnections available here: http://www.cpc.ncep....teleintro.shtml

 

Could maybe look at ENSO, the East Atlantic Index and maybe a Eurasian one?

 

Then I could compare to see if a particular type of river is more responsive and which teleconnection is the better tool?

 

I would still perhaps use ENSO but by looking at a couple of other teleconnections I could reduce its emphasis and reduce potential concerns of lack of correlation compared to when the whole study was focused around it. But ENSO could still be emphasised because of its predictability months ahead and thus as a potential indicator of higher discharges and potential flood risk?

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Hi all, with my latest idea about ENSO, some of the literature seems rather confusing, perhaps making this interesting to study. From what ive read, El Nino seems to bring wetter conditions across Europe especially in the south and drier across scandinavia and the North of the UK whilst La Nina is somewhat opposite. I just want to keep this in the UK now for access of data purposes. Was getting very complex doing it on a wider scale.

 

My lecturer was telling me that whatever correlation I found, I need to be able to suggest causes. Now, changes in atmospheric pressure are what shift rainfall patterns thus I was told I should probably test the correlation between ENSO and atmospheric pressure too. Do you think its best to measure that in the UK too or use pressure data from Iceland or the Aleutian Islands area as they are areas of semi permanent low pressure. 

 

Any thoughts on this and if anyone could point me to a link with past sea level pressure data especially for Iceland, The Aleutian Islands area etc that would be great.

 

I should note for simplification purposes, for now at least, I think I am just going to be focussing on precipitation/pressure and ignoring the rivers component for now at least.

 

In addition to the great link BFTV provided, some additional data sources for climate studies:

 

The first one is the European Climate Data and Assessment, an organization stimulating the exchange of climate data throughout Europe.

 

http://www.ecad.eu/

 

The second is a link from the Dutch MetOffice (KNMI), in which climate correlations can be investigated by comparing a huge amount of datasets. It is a very useful link to research a lot of climate variables and correlations.

 

http://climexp.knmi.nl/[email protected]

 

I hope this helps a little.

 

Good luck with your dissertation!

Edited by Vorticity0123

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