PhD Position

Universität zu Köln, Institut für Geophysik und Meteorologie

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 06:31:31 GMT


The Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology at the University of Cologne (IGMK) invites applications for a Research Assistant position with the oppurtunity for graduation PhD position Exploring the microphysical processes in ice and snow clouds using novel combination of polarimetric and multi-frequency cloud radars starting 1January 2017 with a weekly working time of 29,87 hours (75% position) The initial contract will be awarded for at least 3 years. The salary is based on the German E13 TV-L scale if terms and conditions under collective bargaining law are fulfilled. The position is offered within the newly funded Young-Researcher (Emmy-Noether) Group “Optimal combination of Polarimetric and Triple Frequency radar techniques for Improving Microphysical process understanding of cold clouds” (OPTIMIce). OPTIMIce has been funded by the German Research Foundation for an initial period of three years with possible extension of another two years. Its main focus is on improving our understanding of cold cloud microphysics (e.g. nucleation, aggregation, riming, melting) with a novel combination of radar remote sensing methods and microphysical modelling. The successful applicant will be part of a vibrant, highly motivated research team embedded in an interdisciplinary and international work environment at the IGMK; in addition, the candidate will also be able to take advantage of collaborating with our European and international partners. The IGMK also offers a coordinated PhD supervision program as part of the thriving Graduate School of Geosciences (

We look for a highly motivated person with strong interest in cloud microphysics and radar remote sensing. The applicant should be excited to conduct experimental work with our innovative polarimetric and multi-frequency radar remote sensing instrument setting at our research supersite “Jülich observatory for Cloud Observation” (JOYCE, near Cologne. Experience in scientific programming and in analysing large observational datasets is highly desirable. Applicants must have a Master of Science equivalent university degree in Meteorology, Geosciences, or Physics. The candidate is expected to have good communication skills in written and spoken English and should be able to work in a team as well as independently.

Detailed project description
Several key microphysical processes in cold clouds, e.g. aggregation, riming, or melting, are very poorly understood despite the fact that over 95% of mid-latitude precipitation is formed via the ice phase. This is one main reason for the poor representation of clouds in weather forecast and climate models. Radar remote sensing technology is rapidly evolving and bears large potential to study these processes in unprecedented detail. In this project we will combine the main state-of-the-art radar approaches (Polarimetry, Doppler spectra, Triple-frequency) into a unique long-term dataset which will provide completely new opportunities for cold cloud process studies.

The candidate will have the exciting opportunity to develop new observational strategies, explore the new dataset, analyse the added value of various instrument combinations, and further develop methods to characterize different hydrometeor classes and their associated microphysical processes. Besides the strong observational aspect, the candidate will also use our radar forward operator together with detailed model simulations to better understand the sensitivity of the different radar observations to the underlying processes. For more information about the project and the position please contact Dr. Stefan Kneifel (skneifel[at]

Interested candidates should send a CV; a cover letter describing background, training, research interests and motivation for this position; certificates; and the contact information of two referees as a single PDF to meteo-jobs@uni‐ Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled, January 15 latest.

The selection for the positions will be based solely on merit without regard to gender, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital or family status or other differences. The University of Cologne is an equal opportunity employer in compliance with the German disability laws. Women and persons with disabilities are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. Among equally qualified candidates, handicapped candidates will be given preference.

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