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PhD position (B4c)

3D cloud-radiative impacts on midlatitude cyclones

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

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

The Clouds and Storm Tracks group at the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) offers a PhD position within Phase 2 of the collaborative research center "Waves to Weather" (W2W). The Clouds and Storm Tracks group has a strong focus on cloud-circulation coupling and its impact on weather and climate. It has established an international reputation in atmospheric and climate dynamics as well as high-resolution modeling. KIT is a distinguished research university that combines three core tasks — research,
education and innovation — into a single mission. With 9,400 employees and 25,000 students, it is one of the largest institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe. In the area of Atmospheric Science KIT was ranked #1 in Germany and #6 in Europe in the last Shanghai Ranking.

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 models, and the consequences for the dynamics and predictability of midlatitude cyclones at the synoptic scale and the mesoscale. The project is motivated by earlier work that demonstrated that radiation can impact the organization of clouds and the evolution of idealized midlatitude cyclones. It is further motivated by the current trend towards high-resolution models, for which three-dimensional (3d) radiative effects are expected to become increasingly important. So far the dynamical impacts of 3d radiative effects are unclear. Thanks to recent progress in high-resolution modeling and the representation of radiation in atmospheric models they can now be studied for the first time.

b4c_figure_smallHigh-resolution simulation of a midlatitude cyclone with the ICON model at 300m horizontal resolution. Left: total cloud condensate in color, surface pressure in red contours. The cyclone center is to the northwest. Right: cross-section at 56N, illustrating the vertical structure of the cloud-radiative heating.

The project is designed as a twin project of KIT and LMU Munich. The PhD student will work closely with two fellow students based at LMU (supervised by Bernhard Mayer), with the overall aim to advance the representation of radiative transfer in the ICON model and to investigate the practical impacts. The first part of the PhD will be a systematic study of 3d cloud-radiative impacts on idealized midlatitude cyclones by means of high-resolution ICON simulations at 300m and 2.5km resolution. The second part will analyze the radiative impact with a potential vorticity error growth framework developed in Phase 1 of W2W, and will compare the idealized simulations with a real case study of a North Atlantic cyclone. The project will include visits to LMU, and has the potential for a research stay abroad.

The ideal candidate holds an MSc in Meteorology, Physics, or a closely related discipline. He/she has a strong interest or first experiences in atmospheric dynamics and clouds as well as numerical modeling and the handling of big data. Experience with scientific programming and data analysis (e.g. linux, python, fortran, cdo) is 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 self-government. 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.

KIT actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion, and as an equal opportunity employer, KIT explicitly encourages applications from women as well as from all others who will bring additional diversity to the university’s research and teaching. KIT provides support for dual career couples and families. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered if suitably qualified.

If you are interested, please apply online here!