PhD Position in Decadal Climate Variability and Predictability

Updated: 2 days ago
Deadline: 14 Oct 2021

- Predicting the climate for mitigating impacts of extreme climate events 

A PhD position on ‘Decadal climate variability and predictability’ is offered at the newly founded Climate Centre at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, in collaboration with the National Centre for Climate Research, hosted by the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Aim of the project is to use high-resolution predictive models to resolve decadal climate variability as well as mesoscale processes in both the ocean and the atmosphere, with a focus on the Arctic. A major focus will be on water mass dynamics and feedbacks on the ocean’s carbon pump with the long-term goal to assess the impact of decadal variations on the ocean carbon sink. An important part of the work is to explore biases and shortcomings of the models in representing key patterns of ocean and climate variability, which will be approached by using observational datasets. The ideal candidate has experience with climate or biogeochemical modelling, and a background in atmospheric or ocean science.

Background: Research into high-resolution global climate predictions for the next decades is a priority area in the National Centre for Climate Research (NCKF), of SDU’s Climate Centre, and in line with SDU’s SDG-focused strategy plan. Decadal predictions can be utilized for mitigating impacts of climate change on society including economic sectors sensitive to climate variability and their extremes.

A new generation of coupled climate models resolving meso-scale processes in both the ocean and atmosphere can greatly improve the interactions between earth system components to better simulate the climate mean state and variability. Combined with novel initialization techniques for different components of the earth system, these models have the potential to provide more skillful and useful predictions of coming years to decadal climate variability and change. This PhD will work with high resolution prediction systems in close collaboration with senior researchers within NCKF and SDU.

Presently, much scientific attention is given to the predictability and skill linked to the interaction between Arctic and lower latitudes including the jet stream and prominent modes of subpolar ocean variability. Arctic variability and change can potentially trigger extreme climate events (e.g. marine heatwaves, storms, heavy rainfall, heat waves and droughts) in mid-latitudinal regions. Observational evidence indicates a strong link, which is not yet fully realized in prediction systems. This potentially impacts predictive skill also on longer timescales.

The PhD will assess regional model biases and shortcomings in representing key patterns of ocean and climate variability with the aim to identify limitations in their predictability and impacts. An understanding at process level will be achieved by using available and newly generated field-based datasets including oceanographic and biogeochemical data as well as ocean atmosphere flux data from the Northern Atlantic and polar region.

A specific focus will be on water mass dynamics and feedbacks on the ocean’s carbon pump with the long-term goal to assess the impact of decadal variations on the ocean carbon sink. Indicators will be developed based on interdisciplinary datasets, to link the physical climate system to ocean biogeochemistry and carbon system. A similar approach may be used to address impacts of decadal climate variability and extremes on biodiversity and life stock. Improved decadal climate predictions may be carried out for the next decade to address the development of earth system services and to facilitate research on and applications for sector specific climate services.

Qualifications/requirements
We are looking for a highly motivated, dedicated, and ambitious candidate with:

  • An MSc degree within earth system physics, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, marine biology, physics, mathematics, engineering or similar, and knowledge on climate and earth system science.
  • Experience with data analysis of large data sets and with working with models or programming, preferably in a Linux environment.
  • Good collaborative skills and the wish to work across two institutions.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.

We offer:

  • A fully funded three-year PhD position interfacing between two institutions and embedded in a stimulating and supportive, international research environment.
  • Access to state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.
  • Opportunity to interact with an extensive network of national and international collaborators.
  • A competitive salary and social benefits (e.g. health coverage, parental leave, social security etc.).
  • Dedicated assistance and support with various practical, social, and legal aspects (housing, visa, administration, tax etc.), especially for international candidates through our international staff office (ISO) and department.


For further information please contact Steffen Olsen, smo@dmi.dk at DMI or Carolin Löscher, cloescher@biology.sdu.dk at SDU. 

Application, salary etc.
Appointment as a PhD Research Fellow is for three years. Employment stops automatically at the end of the period. The holder of the scholarship is not allowed to have other paid employment during the three-year period.

The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement on salaried PhD scholars between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Please check links for more information on salary  and taxation .

The successful candidate will be enrolled at this university in accordance with faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order).

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Application must be made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
• A research proposal/description of your approach to the above project (max one page excluding references)
• A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages) (please attach this under box "Application form")
• Detailed CV, including personal contact information
• Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades
• At least two signed reference letters. Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use e-mail: anc@sdu.dk mentioning your name and the title of the position in the subject line. And please note that these also need to reach us before deadline.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

Further information about the PhD-study can be found at the homepage of the University .

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online". Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb. We strongly recommend that you read How to apply before you apply.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. This also applies to reference letters.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.


View or Apply

Similar Positions