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PhD position (B4a)

Radiative interactions at the NWP scale and their impact on midlatitude cyclone predictability

This PhD position contributes to project B4 "Radiative interactions at the NWP scale and their impact on midlatitude cyclone predictability".

Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Mayer
Other project leader: Dr. Aiko Voigt

The Experimental Meteorology group at the Meteorological Institute (MIM) at LMU Munich offers a PhD position within Phase 2 of the collaborative research center "Waves to Weather" (W2W). The group has a strong focus on cloud-radiation processes and has established a leading international reputation in atmospheric remote sensing, radiative transfer, and cloud-aerosol-radiation interactions.

As one of Europe’s leading research universities, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich is committed to the highest international standards of excellence in research and teaching. Building on its more than 500-year-long tradition, it offers a broad spectrum that covers all areas of knowledge within its 18 Faculties, ranging from the humanities, law, economics and social sciences, to medicine and the natural sciences.

Diabatic heating by radiation is a main driver of the atmospheric circulation. In project B4 of W2W, the PhD student will address the representation of radiative transfer in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in order to identify novel ways for improvements in terms of computational speed and accuracy, and to study the dynamical impact of three dimensional radiative effects that are currently neglected in NWP models. Aim of the project is to substantially speed up radiative transfer in the ICON model of the German Weather Service (DWD) and to study the impact of how often radiative transfer is calculated in NWP models. Currently, radiation is called less often than dynamics which is problematic because clouds vary rapidly, and our previous studies showed that correct spatial distribution of radiative heating rates matters for cloud organization. At the same time, substantial computational resources are currently spent on spectral integration. We will optimize the trade-off between calling frequency versus spectral accuracy, and will explore new ways to more effectively implement radiative transfer computations on modern computer architectures, e.g., by treating radiation "dynamically" in each model time step. That is, radiation would only propagate to the neighboring grid boxes in each time step which could speed up 3D radiative transfer in a parallellized model tremendously.


The project is designed as a twin project of LMU (2 PhD positions) and KIT (1 PhD position, supervised by Aiko Voigt). The PhD student in this project will work on completely new ways to implement radiative transfer in NWP models. There will be a close cooperation between the PhD students at KIT and LMU, developing modules for the ICON model, running the model for a number of cases, and joint and regular discussions about the model results.

The ideal candidate holds a MSc in Meteorology, Physics, or other Geosciences and has already some experience in numerical modeling and model development. Besides very good knowledge of English, experience with programming, e.g. C, Fortran, python, would be an advantage.

The position is initially funded for 3 years with possible extension until June 2023 and should start as soon as possible. It is remunerated according to TV-L E13 (75%). Applicants are asked to specify their desired starting date and to give the contact details of two academic referees.

W2W features an innovative program for the development of early career researchers based on selfgovernment. In addition to self-organized activities such as workshops, trainings and a guest program, the successful candidate will have the opportunity, if desired, to pursue an international research visit of at least one week. The consortium conducts an ambitious program to gradually enhance gender equality on all career levels within the academic fields combined in W2W.

LMU is an equal opportunity employer. Women are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered if equally qualified. The successful candidate will work in the city center on Munich and will have access to extensive training and career development activities offered by the LMU.

If you are interested, please apply online here!