Doctoral candidate (f/m/d)

Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung GmbH (ZMT), Bremen

The Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (www.leibniz-zmt.de) in Bremen is a member of the Leibniz Association, which is supported by the German Federal and State Governments. Through its research, ZMT contributes to developing science-based strategies for sustainable use of tropical coastal systems.

The workgroup Complexity & Climate is looking for a

Doctoral candidate (f/m/d)

(Reference number: 179)

ERC-funded PhD position on tropical convective self-organization

We are seeking a motivated PhD student who will study the self-organization of convective clouds over the tropical oceans and continents. The position is funded through the ERC project “Cloud-cloud interaction in convective precipitation” (INTERACTION). Self-organization of convective clouds has been implicated in the emergence of mesoscale convective systems, the Madden-Julian Oscillation and tropical cyclone formation.

Job tasks:

Within this PhD project a theoretical methodology will be developed, that allows cloud interactions to be encapsulated into a simplified modeling framework. Distinct surface conditions, e.g., continent vs. ocean, will be examined and their relative effects incorporated into the methodology. Important - and so-far incompletely understood - organizing mechanisms in convection are, on the one hand, the interactions among cold pools (boundary layer), and, on the other, those between clouds and radiation within the free troposphere.

The theoretical modeling will make use of numerical experiments from high-resolution large-eddy and cloud-resolving simulations, which are carried out in a complementary project within the team. Together, new numerical experiments will be designed and implemented. The group will further be exploring observational data, e.g., from satellite or ground-based stations, and there will be close collaboration between the observational and modeling projects.

The thesis will give the student the opportunity to collaborate with the PI's network, in particular the Atmospheric Complexity Group at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the Jacobs University Bremen as well as the research network TRR181 (Energy Transfers in Atmosphere and Ocean). The student will be based within the group “Complexity and Climate” at ZMT, but receive their PhD from one of the partner universities.


Candidates with a background in physics, mathematics, meteorology/atmospheric science or computational fluid dynamics are especially encouraged to apply. Candidates should have completed the equivalent of a two-year M.Sc. degree, or be close to its completion. Working experience with an efficient programing language (e.g. fortran, python, c/c++, or similar) is expected. Curiosity and creativity for building conceptual, simplified mathematical models is crucial. Some familiarity with atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, or ocean-atmosphere interaction will be beneficial, but is not critical. Enthusiasm to both work within a team and alone are expected.

Details of the position:

The candidate will be on a part-time position (66%) on a 36-month contract; starting in December 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. Salary will be paid according to the German TV-L EG 13.

We offer:

  • An exciting working environment in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented institute
  • Possibilities to build and extend an international professional network and participate in a research field of high public and scientific interest
  • A family-friendly working environment

ZMT is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants with a migration background are welcome. Disabled persons with comparable qualification receive preferential status.

For additional information please contact Jan O. Haerter at jan.haerter(at)leibniz-zmt.de or haerter(at)nbi.ku.dk.

Submission of application: Please send your application, including a 1,000-word motivation letter, copies of degrees (M.Sc. or equivalent) and course transcripts (including grades, if available), a complete CV with a list of publications (if any) and skills, names with email addresses and telephone numbers of two personal references, by October 23, 2020 as a single pdf file with the reference number “179 phd to Ms. Lena Oehlmann, bewerbung(at)leibniz-zmt.de.

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Fahrenheitstraße 6, D-28359 Bremen