PhD Position “Improving climate models by developing a new gravity wave parametrization”

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

IEK-7 – Stratosphäre



Area of research:

PHD Thesis



Job description:

IEK-7 conducts research on the chemistry, dynamics and microphysics of the stratosphere and the tropopause region, and on the role these atmospheric layers play in the climate system.For this purpose, aircraft and balloons are used for experiments intended to clarify processes, primarily on a local and regional scale. With the analysis and use of satellite data, these studies are expanded to include global and climatological scales. The evaluation of the measured data is closely interlinked with model calculations.


Your Job:


Atmospheric gravity waves are waves of wavelengths from a few kilometers up to a few hundred kilometers. These waves couple the middle atmosphere (15-100km altitude) to the troposphere by momentum and energy transfer. As they cannot be resolved by the dynamical core of standard climate models they are represented by sub-models (parametrization schemes). It has been a matter of concern in the community that simplifications in the parametrization schemes lead to errors of several Kelvin in the simulated stratospheric temperatures and a delayed breakdown of the southern polar vortex (ozone hole) in the models. Such stratospheric effects couple downward to surface climate and weather. Your task in our group will be to develop a statistical representation of oblique gravity wave propagation and prepare this for implementation in the German climate model system EMAC-MESSY. The statistical representation will be based on high resolution numerical weather prediction data, dedicated gravity wave modeling and comparison with campaign and satellite data. Participation in an aircraft research campaign in the second half of the project is possible. New software will be developed in a team-oriented working environment. Modern concepts of software development and continuous integration (e.g. unit-tests, GIT) are used. While the finally-implemented code for the GCM has to be written in FORTRAN, research, prototyping and evaluation in our group is usually done in PYTHON.Your tasks:



  • Investigate the oblique propagation of gravity waves

  • Develop a statistical representation for implementation in a climate model

  • Validate the approach against campaign and satellite observations

  • Test the approach for future-climate simulations

The work is performed in close cooperation with scientists from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) near Munich as well as researchers from the Karlsruhe Institue of Technology (KIT), the Ludwig Maximillians University (LMU) in Munich and the Institute for Atmospheric Physics (IAP) in Kühlungsborn. Our group is actively participating in national and international research projects like the DFG researcher group MS-GWaves, cooperations in the frame of teams hosted by the International Space Science Institute (ISSI; funded by ESA) and the WMO program SPARC. Active exchange inside early-career researchers groups and with world-leading scientists of the field is supported. Forschungszentrum Jülich also offers the opportunity to achieve soft skills and PhD candidates will be part of the HITEC PhD program.

Your Profile:

  • Master degree in physics, mathematics, meteorology, informatics or a related field with good final grade (German system equivalent 2.0 or better)
  • Interest in wave physics
  • Experience in programming
  • Good skills in the spoken and written English language

Our Offer:

  • Outstanding scientific and technical infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • A highly motivated group as well as an international and interdisciplinary working environment at one of Europe`s largest research establishments
  • Chance of participating in (international) conferences and project meetings
  • Opportunities of being part of the national and international scientific community
  • Continuous, professional support by your scientific supervisor
  • Broad spectrum of training in the Graduate School HITEC ( www.hitec-graduate-school.de ) and the Forschungszentrum
  • Pay in line with 67,5 % of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund)
  • Earliest start of the position is in November
  • Usually a contract for the duration of 3 years

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particulary welcomes applications from women.We also welcome applications from disabled persons.


Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 2019D-197

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