PhD Candidate (Climate extremes from a paleo perspectives, sclerochronology)

Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) - AWI - Helmholtz Association

Bremerhaven, Germany

Area of research:

Scientific / postdoctoral posts

Job description:

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

The section Palaeoclimate Dynamics invites applications for a

PhD Candidate (Climate extremes from a paleo perspectives, sclerochronology)

This position is part of the Strategy Fund Project – Climate extremes from a paleo perspective (PalEX, 2019 – 2021), which is funded through the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research and lead by Dr. Monica Ionita-Scholz.

Climate extreme events are typically associated with specific weather patterns and coherent atmospheric structures, e.g. cyclones and blockings. In order to understand differences in the frequency of these events in a climate background, the corresponding patterns have to be analyzed. The project is conceived to better understand the occurrence and frequency of climate extremes under different background climates to support future predictions. PalEX will improve our understanding of the complex mechanisms controlling the variability of the climate extremes at various time scales through advanced statistical techniques, a wide range of indices describing these extremes, high-resolution proxy records, and paleoclimate simulations. An interdisciplinary approach using climate, oceanic, proxy and model data sets will be used in combination with complex statistical methods (e.g. Principal Oscillation Patterns, Canonical Correlation Analysis, Stability maps, Autoregressive Models). This project will set up a long-term collaboration of a team of experts: biologists, climatologists and modelers from the AWI research divisions (biosciences, paleo climate dynamics, glaciology) and a strong collaboration with international and national partners.


You will work within the Paleoclimate Dynamics group, and your main duties will be:

·       Analysis of δ18O data (and maybe growth increment data) from marine bioarchives (particularly mollusks, particularly Arctica Islandica) in the context of the identification of climate extreme events.

·       The interpretation of proxy records variability from the mid-latitudes and polar regions in terms of atmospheric circulation at synoptic scales with focus on the atmospheric blocking variability;

·       Reconstruction of mid-latitude extreme climate using multi proxy records and (paleo) climate simulations.


·       Master or equivalent degree in a relevant field such as biology, climate sciences, physics or   mathematics

·       Demonstrated programming skills

·       Fluency in English

·       Solid understanding of climate physics and mollusk biology

 For further information please contact Dr. Monica Ionita-Scholz (

The position is limited to 3 years and will start as soon as possible. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( or another graduate school.

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure.

AWI aims to increase the number of women in the scientific staff and therefore encourages women to apply. Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate “Career and Family”.

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (cover letter with motivation, CV and two references / letters of recommendation) by February 1st, 2019 referencing code 171/G/Kli to:

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: Helmholtz-171/G/Kli