PhD fellowship in Climate Science

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 14 Oct 2021

PhD Project in Mapping of Greenland surface temperatures

Niels Bohr Institute
Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen

National Center for Climate Research
Danish Meteorological Institute

The Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) and the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in mapping of Greenland surface temperatures. It is a collaborative PhD project between the National Center for Climate Research at DMI and the section for Physics of Ice Climate and Earth at NBI. The research is to be carried both at DMI and at NBI.

Start date is (expected to be) 15th of December 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project

This PhD project will design, develop, build and run a sustainable ArtificiaI Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) system to create a consistent near-surface air temperature data set with verified uncertainty information covering all of Greenland from 1873 to present.

The project will be utilizing Earth Observation surface skin temperature observations, DMIs land station network observations, PROMICE observations and ice core bore hole temperature records to derive a homogenous surface air temperature data set across all snow covered surfaces of Greenland. Surface air temperatures are not observed directly by satellite, and the other observation types have different characteristics and unique uncertainty budgets. AI/ML methods will therefore be developed to link the different observations, quality control the historical station data and to derive a consistent near surface air temperature record for all Greenland from 1873 to present.

This new surface temperature product linking long DMI temperature records from Greenland with geographically distributed temperature patterns from satellite based Earth Observations can be used directly to assess climate change. Furthermore, it can be used in climate and Earth System models. At the same time, the project will be using DMI’s unique Greenland station data and making them available for climate assessment.

The project includes the following steps:

  • Homogenization and initial quality control of DMIs historical observations.
  • Build understanding of relationships between different observation types.
  • Derive relationships between surface skin temperature observations and surface air temperatures, with uncertainties, to be used together with homogenized in situ records.
  • Analysis and in-filling methods: novel statistical methods will be developed.
  • Build and run a sustainable AI/ML system to create a daily near-surface air temperature data set.
  • Product generation, verification and comparison against existing products.  
  • The project is building on unique data sets at DMI, i.e. the Greenland climate station network, the satellite IST AASTI data set, the Qaanaaq sea ice station and also on experience from the EU EUSTACE project and the C3S Arctic Regional Reanalysis (CARRA) dataset. In addition, borehole temperatures from Niels Bohr Institute’s section Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth will be included in the analysis.

    Who are we looking for?

    We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of geophysics, environmental sciences, physics or engineering. Experience with time series analysis, remote sensing, climatology, scientific programming and machine learning algorithms is an advantage.

    Our groups and research- and what do we offer?

    National Centre for Climate Research at DMI

    DMI is scientific advisor for the Danish government on climate change. With National Centre for Climate Research, we support an effective green transition and climate adaptation efforts in the Kingdom of Denmark, and strive to put Denmark in an international leading position in climate research. NCKF research focuses on key areas within climate science, gathers knowledge and links climate research in the Kingdom of Denmark through interdisciplinary research collaborations.

    The Niels Bohr Institute’s section Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth (PICE) studies the elements of the Earth and its climate system as well as interactions between them. PICE offers a stimulating and international environment with a strong network of national and international collaborators. Within PICE the Ice and Climate research group leads international ice core projects in Greenland to study the climate of the past.

    The Niels Bohr Institute is part of the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, while the National Center for Climate Research is part of the Danish Meteorological Institute. Both Institutes are located in Copenhagen some 2km apart.

    Principal supervisor isAssociate Professor Bo M. Vinther, PICE, NBI.(E-mail: , Phone: +4520644144). DMI contact is Head of Remote Sensing, Ph.D. Jacob L. Høyer (E-mail: , Phone: +4539157203)

    The PhD programme

    A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

    Getting into a position on the PhD programme

    Qualifications needed for the regular programme
    To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. geophysics, environmental sciences, physics or engineering. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database .

    Terms of employment in the regular programme
    Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

    Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

    The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

    Salary range starts at DKK 27,871.40 per month incl. PhD supplement (1 Oct. 2021 level).

    Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD programmes

    • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
    • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
    • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
    • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
    • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
    • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

    We are looking for the following qualifications:

    • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
    • Relevant publications
    • Relevant work experience
    • Other relevant professional activities
    • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in Climate Science
    • Good language skills


    Application and Assessment Procedure

     Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

    Please include

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Reference letters (if available)
  • Application deadline:

    The deadline for the applications is 14 October 2021, 23:59 GMT +2

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process
    After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and the assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at .

    Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 43

    For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: .

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

    Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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