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Doctoral position (M/F) on compound climate events and their cascading impacts in coastal areas: case study of tropical islands

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mercredi 6 juillet 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR7266-VIRDUV-006
Workplace : LA ROCHELLE
Date of publication : Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Virginie DUVAT
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

PhD subject: Adapting to compound events and their cascading impacts in coastal areas in French overseas tropical island territories

This PhD thesis will address major conceptual and knowledge gaps related to coastal combined events and risks. These events/risks involve climate and non-climate events and the complex interrelated physical, ecological, and human processes that they drive, and which act as impact amplifiers. Under accelerated climate change, the occurrence and magnitude of compound events increases globally. For example, coastal compound flooding involving marine and river flooding as well as heavy precipitations has been increasingly reported in recent scientific studies (e.g. IPCC AR6). Although compound risks are representative of what tomorrow's risks will be, they remain relatively under-researched. There are two reasons for this: first, the fact that compound event research is still in its infancy (with the IPCC special report on climate extremes first mentioning 'compound events' in 2012); and second, the prevalence of disciplinary research. Up to date, most scientific studies have thus investigated compound events from a disciplinary perspective, that is, without connecting (i) compound hazards and their cascading impacts, and (ii) the different types of impacts generated by these events. Additionally, the disconnection of impact research and adaptation research leads to limited integration of adaptation strategies and actions in the analysis of compound event impacts and their cascading impacts.
To address these research gaps, this PhD thesis will provide a cross-analysis of: (1) the meteorological and climate triggers of compound events; (2) the physical and ecological processes involved in the generation of impacts; (3) the cascading impacts of these events. It will more precisely explore these complementary dimensions through conceptual efforts (aimed at addressing the vagueness of compound events' related concepts), modelling efforts (aimed at formalizing from a theoretical and graphical perspective the representation of compound events), and practical applications of this theoretical background through case studies. This social science-oriented research will promote interdisciplinarity through collaborations with researchers specializing in geosciences and ecology.
This PhD thesis will involve fieldwork in two major island areas, including the Caribbean region (especially the Lesser Antilles which have been severely affected by the September 2017 tropical cyclones) and the Pacific Ocean (i.e. New Caledonia). Special attention will be paid to the generation of generic outcomes that will be replicable to coastal systems on the whole and non-coastal systems.

Work Context

The PhD candidate will join the research laboratory LIENSs (75 permanent researchers, 40 engineers and technicians, 35 PhD students) specializing in coastal environments based on disciplinary (geosciences, ecology and ecotoxicology, history, geography, archeology, political science, law, biotechnologies) and interdisciplinary research. He/she will join the research team AGILE (Geographical Approach of Islands, Coasts and Societies) which gathers 15 researchers around three main research areas, including adaptation to coastal risks (axis 1), change in coastal uses and the governance of coastal and ocean territories in the face of social-environmental challenges (axis 2), and environmental justice (axis 3). The PhD candidate will contribute to the promotion of axis 1.

Constraints and risks


Additional Information

This doctoral position will contribute to the Priority Research Project Ocean & Climate FUTURISKS (Past-to-future coastal risks in French Tropical Island Overseas Territories): from impacts to solutions (2022-2028). This project will contribute to a better understanding of (i) the processes driving coastal erosion and marine flooding, (ii) the cascading impacts and amplification effects involved in compound climate-ocean related events, and (iii) risk reduction and adaptation policies deployed in French overseas territories and tropical islands overall. It concretely supports public stakeholders in coastal observation (of climate-ocean events and their impacts) and in the design, implementation and evaluation of risk reduction and climate adaptation policies and actions, using a threefold past-to-future, interdisciplinary and participative approach. FUTURISKS comprises five interrelated Work Packages: the reconstruction of past climate events (including compound) and their impacts (WP1), the high-resolution analysis of the processes driving extreme sea levels and marine flooding (WP2), the assessment of risk reduction and adaptation solutions (T3), the assessment of future risks and related uncertainties (T4), and the construction of a web platform aimed at supporting decision-making and disseminating results and outcomes. FUTURISKS involves 17 research teams and 48 permanent researchers.

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