PhD researcher Paleoclimatology (1,0 fte), Utrecht University (Universiteit)

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PhD researcher Paleoclimatology (1,0 fte)

The program aims to detect the non-linear response mechanisms within the global climate system to astronomical forcing using an integrated data-modeling comparison approach applied to four key intervals that experienced different background pCO2 concentrations. The selected interval for this Ph.D. project encompasses the onset of major Northern Hemisphere glaciations around 3 Ma when pCO2 values declined below pre-industrial values. The program involves scientists (including two postdoctoral fellows and three Ph.D.’s) at Utrecht University, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), and various European and US research groups.

Project description
The main goal of this Ph.D. project is to constrain the phase, geometry and magnitude of the North American and Eurasian ice sheets during the early to late Pliocene climate transition. Emphasis will be on the mechanisms that may have caused the non-linear components of ~28 and ~80-kyr in the climate system and their relationship to the onset of the obliquity (i.e. 41-kyr) dominated glacial-interglacial variability. 
For this purpose the stable oxygen isotope composition of benthic foraminifera and geochemical proxy records of eastern Mediterranean Ocean Drilling Sites will be constructed for the time interval between ~1.4 and ~4 Ma. The resulting stable isotope record will be used as input for an inverse modeling technique to reconstruct changes in ice volume and temperature and further analyzed by statistical methods. In addition, you will also work on IODP materials from the recent EXP339 (Gulf of Cadiz) to study the dynamics of Mediterranean outflow waters through this critical climate transition. 
The results are expected to shed new light upon the long-term Pliocene intensification of the Mediterranean outflow between 3.5-3.3 Ma, the outstanding cooling event during the Mammoth geomagnetic subchron, and the possible effects of major tectonic pulses on the Mediterranean deepwater circulation.
For a limited amount of time, the Ph.D. candidate will assist in the teaching program of the department

We are looking for highly motivated individuals with a MSc or equivalent degree in Geology, Biology, Biogeology, Physical Geography, Climate and Atmospheric Sciences or related fields, which are highly interested in paleoclimate (i.e. stable isotope, climate modeling) research. 
Candidates are expected to communicate easily in English, both verbally and in writing. Candidates should be able to work in a team, but independently.

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time PhD position, at first for one year. Contingent on a (yearly) satisfactory performance this may be extended to a total period of four years, with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The first evaluation will take place approximately after 6 months of employment, the second after 9 months. After the 9 months evaluation the decision will be made whether an extension of the contract to a total period of 4 years will be offered to the employee.
Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts at € 2,042.- in the first year and increases to € 2,612.- in the fourth year, and is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. We also offer a pension scheme, a health insurance allowance and flexible employment conditions. More information: terms of employment.

The Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. With a population of 2,200 students (BSc and MSc) and 575 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation and Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning.
The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The Department hosts an international group of more than 100 PhD’s and postdoctoral researchers. It hosts a range of excellent laboratory facilities.

For further details contact Dr. Lucas Lourens at L.J.Lourens@uu.nl 
You may also wish to visit the website of the Institute of Earth Sciences; http://www.geo.uu.nl/ivau

Applications are accepted until the position is filled, but we prefer to receive your application before April 1st, 2012. We seek to appoint ultimately June 1, 2012. To apply, please click the button below.

01/04/2012

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