Postdoc in Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Hydrology/Melt Modelling

Aarhus University
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


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The Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark invites applications for a three-year postdoc position in Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Hydrology/Melt Modelling to strengthen and expand the research capability in the Cryo-Microbiology group ( The postdoc will be part of a vibrant international collaboration between Aarhus University and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (Potsdam) to investigate microbial darkening of the Greenland ice sheet. This work will form part of the ERC-Synergy Project DEEP PURPLE (, which aims to provide essential field and laboratory measurements of critical physical and microbial processes associated with the darkening of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The position is to be filled as soon as possible, subject to negotiation.

Description of the position
We seek to recruit a glacier surface hydrologist and/or melt modeller, with an ability to undertake interdisciplinary research. We are interested in hydrological processes in the melting surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet from the local to regional scale. We aim to both conceptually and quantitatively model the development of the surface “weathering crust” over the melt season, and to examine the role of the weathering crust in the growth and retention of glacier ice algae. We are interested in understanding the feedbacks between the hydrological redistribution of organic and inorganic light absorbing particles which influence melt rates, and the development of hydrological reservoirs and flow paths, since these impact on the delivery of nutrients and the potential washout of cells and other light absorbing particles. We envisage the need to design and oversee the manufacture of bespoke equipment to make pertinent field measurements, and to follow these through to laboratory experiments on artificial ice surfaces. It is likely that investigation of hydrological processes over a range of different spatial and temporal scales will be undertaken in collaboration with albedo, melt and remote sensing researchers as well as interacting with the project microbiologists and geochemists in an attempt to establish the key external driving factors and internal feedbacks, both positive and negative, that control the weathering crust structure and hydrological dynamics. Our ideal candidate will have an understanding of surface mass balance and hydrological modelling.

The position will be for a minimum of three years, and the starting date is negotiable. There is the possibility of undertaking fieldwork in the summer of 2021. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the interdisciplinary research ethos of the DEEP PURPLE Project (

Specifically, the selected candidate is expected to:

  • Develop and consolidate the research area of surface weathering crust hydrology and conceptual/quantitative melt modelling.
  • Contribute to ongoing field and experimental work on controls on the melt rate of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Help design and oversee the manufacture of bespoke equipment to make pertinent field measurements
  • Help with organization and participate in fieldwork in Greenland
  • Contribute to running of the bio-molecular facilities in the section and help with supervision of PhD and Master students.
  • The main responsibility is innovative research, which will result in publications in the international peer reviewed literature. Other academic dissemination duties include presentations at international and local research meetings, and contributions to the Deep Purple website and other appropriate social media.

Qualification requirements

  • The position requires a research background in ice surface hydrology and/or melt modelling.
  • Fieldwork experience in glacial environments is desirable.
  • Experience of the design and maintenance of field equipment is desirable.
  • Experience of melt modelling is desirable.
  • Other desired skills include knowledge of Greenland mass balance and melt rates.
  • Applicants should as a minimum hold scientific qualifications equivalent to the PhD graduate level, showing evidence of an emerging publication record within microbial ecology.
  • Applicants should have excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
  • The candidate is expected to be enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary academic environment, be well motivated and to be well organised.

The Department of Environmental Science
The Department of Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary department under the Faculty of Science & Technology at Aarhus University. The expertise ranges from physics, chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and mathematical modelling to social science, geography, economics and policy analysis. Both basic and applied research is conducted on some of the major challenges facing society, such as pollution and bioremediation, management of land, soil, water, air and biodiversity, protection of ecosystem services, climate change, and energy systems. Science-based policy advice within these areas is offered to ministries and other stakeholders. Currently, about 160 staff and PhD-students are working at the department. Further information can be found at
The section conducts research and science-based policy advice targeted towards the understanding of the fate and role of microorganisms in ecosystems and interactions between bacteria, virus, fungi, protozoa and microeukaryotes in glacial, terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environments. Expertise within the section includes:

  • Glacial Microbiology
  • Microbiology in air, ice, soil and rhizosphere
  • Microbial and microeukaryotic genetics and diversity
  • Microbial and protist ecology
  • eDNA analysis and use in environmental monitoring
  • Antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity
  • Biodegradation of persistent organic pollutants
  • Plant-microbe interactions

We speak English on a daily basis at the department.

Work location
The place of work will be at Aarhus University, Campus Risø, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark. The city of Roskilde ( is located 35 km from Copenhagen. The area provides immediate access to a wealth of cultural and recreational pursuits.

International candidates may find information concerning living and working in Denmark at AU International Center offers a full range of services to make your transition to Denmark as smooth as possible (, and the department will assist foreign candidates with finding a suitable place to live.

Further details of the position can be obtained from Martyn Tranter ( ) and Joe Cook ( ).

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University

Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at