STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Africa has been said to be in bad condition as a result of the effect of climate change and global warming. West Africa countries are experiencing unfavorable climatic conditions, with negative impacts on the welfare of its citizens. For example, as many as 200 people were killed after a heavy rainfall which led to mud sliding and created one of the most devastating floods Freetown has experienced. Furthermore, In Nigeria, many lives and properties have been lost due to flood that occurred over the past years in some of the country’s major cities. Similarly, in Agriculture, Nigeria lost between 10 percent and 20 percent of agriculture yields to climate change in 2014. Consequently, shortage in supply to the food market due to poor agricultural products initiates high cost of essential commodities which has a significant impact on the nation’s economy. Having realized the important roles of climate on natural resources and balance of nature, I began to develop a strong yearning for the understanding of our climate, this spurred me to do my undergraduate thesis titled ” Albedo effects on West Africa Climate”. During this period, I acquired knowledge on West Africa Climate and it also enlightened me on Climate Change and its effects on humanity and vice versa. That was the first spark on my academic road of Atmospheric Science. However, the determination to study in Atmospheric Science didn’t become concrete until late 2015 when my supervisor received Elsevier award for the impact of her research on when and where best to plant stable crops in Nigeria. Since then, I have been making constant efforts to become exemplary Atmospheric Scientist who through research will alleviate the societal impacts of climate change and in some way provide improved human welfare. To achieve this goal, I am determined to obtain a Ph.D. degree at the prestigious University of Maryland, College Park due to the potentials and outstanding works of the faculty especially in the field of Atmospheric Science.
I have enjoyed studying Physics, which I believe has provided me with a broad understanding of Mathematical Methods, Thermodynamic, Numerical Computing, Scientific programming and Statistical Computing. Furthermore, due to the burning zeal I have to understand the physical processes of the Atmosphere, I am currently enrolled in a Pre-PhD programme in Earth System Physics (climate physics option) at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), where I am being trained how to use sophisticated mathematical and numerical tools to analyze the physical and chemical processes in both the Ocean and Atmosphere. I have included in my application the list of courses for this programme.
In addition to my academic exposure, I have also gained research and teaching experience. For my undergraduate thesis, I was actively involved in the use of Ferret software on Linux Operating System for interpreting large and gridded datasets. During this time, I observed the trend in land surface albedo value over West Africa and also the relationship between albedo and climate parameters of West Africa. Similarly, I have also participated in several projects with my supervisor some of which are; the influence of natural climatic oscillation on West Africa Climate and also identification of fair and disturbed weather days using different parametrization methods. Through this experience, I was able to learn how to efficiently carry out scientific research and use some numerical models. Likewise In 2016, I was a graduate assistant at the Department of Physics, University of Ilorin. During this period, I served as a laboratory demonstrator and teaching assistant. Also, I graded assignments, supervised tests and mentored some final year undergraduate students regarding their thesis. Furthermore, I also served as a tutorial assistant earlier this year at the Department of Physics, University of Ibadan. During this period, I tutored first-year introductory physics courses, taught undergraduate research students in Atmospheric Physics how to use Linux OS and Ferret software and also served as a laboratory demonstrator in undergraduate laboratories.
With some background in numerical models, I currently have two broad research areas in mind namely; climate analysis and modeling (clouds and radiation) and numerical weather prediction and atmospheric dynamics (climate dynamics). Clouds affect the climate system in numerous ways. They produce precipitation (rain and snow) that is essential for most life on land. Likewise, they warm the atmosphere as water vapor condenses. Cloud strongly affect the flows of both sunlight (warming the planet) and infrared light (cooling the planet by reflection back to space) through the atmosphere, and contribute the largest uncertainty to estimates the Earth changing energy budget. Also, it is very important to understand how our climate varies even though it creates difficult but interesting computational, analytical, mathematical and some observational questions. Climate variability has important ramifications for society, from answering complex questions involving long-term change in sea level and climate, projecting agricultural production and future energy demand. I have gone through the intriguing research done by some of the faculty members whose research interest strike a chord with mine and several faculty members are doing interesting works in these areas, including
Being an international student, I hope to learn new cultures and increase the diversity of the student body. I believe Atmospheric Science Doctoral Program would provide me with vast knowledge and research skills needed to illuminate my pathway to a successful academic career in Atmospheric Science. I intently look forward to joining University of Maryland, College Park.
I am grateful for the privilege to express myself.
Ikuyajolu Olawale James
Earth System Physics
Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics,