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PhD: Relative impact of surface and aerosol heterogeneities on the initiation of deep convection

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Our ability to predict the weather up to a week or more ahead saves our societies billions of Euros annually and protects human life and property. The great challenge today is to identify the limits of weather predictability in different situations and produce the best forecasts that are physically possible.

On July 1st 2015, the Transregional Collaborative Research Center “Waves to Weather” (W2W; SFB/TRR165; was established to address these issues and to deliver the underpinning science urgently needed to pave the way towards a new generation of weather forecasting systems.
The W2W consortium consists of:
- the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU, Munich)
- the Johannes Gutenberg-University (JGU, Mainz)
- the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), together with
- the Technische Universität München (TUM)
- the Heidelberg University, and
- the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR, Munich).

The following PhD-position is available within the W2W consortium:

Location: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Advisors: Dr. Christian Barthlott and Prof. Dr. Corinna Hoose

This PhD position will contribute to project B3 “Relative impact of surface and aerosol heterogeneities on the initiation of deep convection” of the W2W consortium.

Outline: The Cloud Physics group at the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), offers a PhD position within the collaborative research center "Waves to Weather". The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation pursuing the tasks of a state university of Baden-Wuerttemberg and of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. The KIT mission combines the three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation. With about 9,400 employees and 24,500 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.
In project B3 of W2W, we will investigate the relative contribution of orographic features, land surface heterogeneities and heterogeneities in the aerosol field on cloud formation, cloud features, and subsequent precipitation. To achieve this, numerical simulations with the Consortium for Small-scale Modeling (COSMO) model at a convection-permitting horizontal grid spacing will be performed for several cases with different synoptic conditions. By using an advanced two-moment microphysical parameterization, aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation are modeled by taking into account different aerosol assumptions for cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). In this way, we will identify which inhomogeneity has the strongest influence on convective processes over both flat and complex terrain and to what extent the synoptic forcing modifies the sensitivity of clouds and precipitation. The area of investigation will be Germany where processes over both flat and orographically structured terrain can be studied.
The project is designed as a twin project of KIT and LMU, where another PhD position is open. Each project partner focuses their work on one specific target region of the common model domain: (i) KIT: complex terrain of southwestern Germany/eastern France and (ii) LMU: flat terrain of northern Germany. Furthermore, the simulations for most of the sensitivities will be conducted at different horizontal resolutions which enables us not only to investigate if the sensitivities also depend on model resolution, but also to quantify the subgrid-scale variability of important parameters and processes. The KIT PhD student will be supervised by Pis Barthlott/Hoose in Karlsruhe and the LMU PhD student by PI Keil in Munich, but there will be a strong collaboration between both partner institutes. The collaboration comprises the common selection of the analyzed days, the use of the same model system with identical changes for most of the sensitivity runs, and joint and regular discussions about the model results.

Requirements: The ideal candidate holds a MSc in Meteorology, Physics, or other Geosciences and has already some experience in numerical modeling and/or skills to evaluate huge data sets. Besides very good knowledge of English, experience with Fortran, Unix, and statistical/visualisation software (e.g. GrADS, R, ncl, cdo) would be an advantage.

The position is funded until June 2019. The successful PhD candidate will be remunerated according to TV-L 13 (75%) and should start as soon as possible.
Responsibilities and requirements are outlined on the website The position is a fixed-term employment contract until June 2019. The contract is time-limited according to the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Law (WissZeitVG). The salary scale is TV-L E13. Employment shall begin as soon as possible.

Handicapped applicants will be given preference in case of equal suitability. The W2W consortium strives to increase the proportion of women in research and specifically encourages females to apply for this position.

Applications should be submitted online before July 31st 2015 using the application tool of the W2W consortium (visit the website for more information) and should include the following components:
- CV
- letter of motivation
- research interests
- a record of studies
- master and bachelor certificates including a transcript of records
- the degeee certificate
- contact information of two referees for letters of recommendation
- an English language certificate

For further information, please visit or contact Dr. Audine Laurian (


Art des Bewerbungszugangs
Applications should be submitted online before July 31st 2015 using the application tool of the W2W consortium (visit the website for more information).
Kontakt für Bewerbungen
For further information, please visit or contact Dr. Audine Laurian (

Details der Stellenanzeige

Befristete Anstellung
Berufserfahrung nicht vorausgesetzt
Deutschland (Baden-Württemberg)
76131 Karlsruhe
Physik, Geowissenschaften