Rachel White

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Atmospheric dynamics
climate change
Extreme weather events
Climate impacts

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.
 
 

Research Methodology

Running climate models (future projections, paleoclimates, idealized experiments)
Subseasonal to seasonal forecast data
CMIP6 climate projections data and analysis

Open Research Positions

This list of possible research projects is non-exhaustive. It only shows positions that are specifically advertised in the G+PS website.

Recruitment

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.

 

ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Projecting future climate changes and extremes using convection-permitting atmospheric downscaling over the coastal Pacific Northwest (2024)

Global climate models (GCMs) often lack the spatial resolution to capture regional features of high topography and coastlines such as the Pacific Northwest. Orographic precipitation and convection greatly influence the region’s climate, yet these processes are typically heavily parameterized in climate models and contribute to well-known modelling uncertainties. This study uses the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model to dynamically downscale the Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2), a coarse GCM, to generate high-resolution (3 km) convection-permitting climate projections over southwestern British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and Washington. Dynamical downscaling is a modeling technique that extrapolates the effects of large-scale climate processes from the coarse models, using them as initial and boundary conditions to drive high-resolution models, allowing for small-scale processes, especially those affected by local geography (e.g., coasts, topography) such as convection, to be resolved within the model rather than parameterized. Three 20-year simulations were generated: a historical period (1986-2005) for validation and to assess the changes in the Pacific Northwest, and two mid-century simulations (2046-2065) under two climate mitigation scenarios (moderate and no mitigation). Evaluated against its coarser, non-convection-permitting nest, as well as CanESM2 and CanRCM4, the 3-km CanESM2-WRF model reveals significant reductions in biases for temperature, precipitation, and wind speed across over 100 stations. Following the strong response to emissions of CanESM2, 3-km CanESM2-WRF projects seasonal temperature increases between 2 and 3.5ºC. Summers are projected to become drier, while winters are expected to be wetter with increased frequency and intensity of precipitation events. Winter wind speeds are projected to increase along the coast but decrease in other seasons. Despite the increase in mean temperatures, extreme spring and winter temperatures show limited increases and even decreases compared to historical values. This study examines temperature and precipitation compound events using both historical and future extreme thresholds; providing insights into the frequency of such events under shifting climatic conditions. Projections based on future extreme thresholds show seasonally-dependent changes in extreme and compound events, with an increase in cold spells in most regions, a reduction in interior summer warm spells, and an increase in spring dry-hot days but decrease in spring dry-cold days.

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News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.
 
 

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