Postdoctoral and PhD positions in Climate extremes research, data science and Earth System Modelling via ResearchGate

ETH Zürich

Zürich, Switzerland 🇨🇭

We invite applications for full-time positions at the Postdoc/Senior Postdoc or PhD level in the Land-Climate Dynamics group of Prof. Sonia I. Seneviratne at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich. The positions will also be in collaboration with Dr. Lukas Gudmundsson and/or Dr. Jonas Schwaab.

We are seeking climate, physical or environmental scientists with research experience or interest in coupled global or regional climate models, simplified Earth System models, impact models, analysis of model results, or machine learning/data science applied to atmospheric, water-cycle or environmental research questions.

Project background

One to two PhD or Postdoctoral positions are funded within the EU Horizon 2020 project PROVIDE “Paris Agreement Overshooting, Reversibility, Climate Impacts and Adaptation Needs”. The project investigates climate projections and associated impacts associated with emissions pathways that either temporarily or permanently overshoot the global temperature limits set within the 2015 Paris Agreement. The corresponding work package aims at a) further developing an Earth System Model emulator of global gridded physical climate fields for overshoot scenarios to provide input data for impact models, b) developing emulators of impact models for key biophysical variables including water availability, floods, crop yields, carbon cycle impacts, and biodiversity losses, among others and c) assessing impact (ir)reversibilities in a multi-sectoral framework. The research will expand the development of the MESMER Earth System Model (ESM) emulator, which together with a coupling to the global MAGICC ESM emulator, allows an end-to-end emulation from greenhouse gas emissions to grid-cell level temperature fields, including a representation of global and regional multi-model and internal climate variability (https://esd.copernicus.org/articles/11/139/2020/esd-11-139-2020.pdf). The project will expand the MESMER regional emulator to selected climate extremes and impact processes, with a focus on droughts, heatwaves, fire, as well as impacts on ecosystems and crop production. ETH funding is available as complement for research in related fields at both postdoc and PhD level.

One to two PhD or Postdoctoral positions are funded within the EU Horizon 2020 project XAIDA “Extreme Events: Artificial Intelligence for Detection and Attribution”. The project unites the fields of event attribution and artificial intelligence to improve climate risk assessment. The corresponding work package investigates heatwaves, droughts and summer compound events such as fire weather and spatially concurrent heatwaves in breadbasket regions. The focus of the advertised positions is on the application of machine and statistical learning tools for attributing summer extreme events. Storylines of extreme events in both present and future climate (at 1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C) will be developed, including events associated with concurrent extremes across regions (e.g. associated with persistent weather patterns). The combination of ESM-based sensitivity experiments and machine-learning tools for causal inference will also be addressed. ETH funding is available as complement for research in related fields at both postdoc and PhD level.

Job description

The applicants are expected to contribute to one of the respective projects. Postdoctoral applicants are expected to take leadership in one of the research fields noted, including the supervision of students. The postdoctoral positions are for two years initially and can be extended subject to performance and availability of funding. Employment at senior postdoctoral level (“oberassistant”) with a perspective for up to 3-6 year employment is also possible for candidates with extensive research expertise and innovative research portfolio. The PhD positions are for three to three and a half years. The starting date is fall 2021 but can be negotiated. A later start (early 2022) would also be possible.

We offer a dynamic and inspiring research environment, excellent working conditions, supercomputing infrastructure, and a large degree of freedom for the successful candidates to bring in their own research ideas and experience. The Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich is a world-leading institute in the field of research on global and regional climate change at one of the leading international universities for natural sciences and technology.

Your profile

Postdoctoral applicants:

Applicants must have a PhD in climate sciences, atmospheric sciences, meteorology, statistics, computer science or in a related field, ideally working knowledge of climate models and/or Earth System Model emulators, and experience with shell scripting, UNIX/Linux operating systems, high-performance computing, or advanced statistics and data analysis frameworks (python, R). Regardless of background, the successful applicants will have a dynamic personality, motivation to work on Earth System Model emulators and/or Earth System Model data, as well as cutting-edge numerical climate models and their output, the ability to carry out research in an interdisciplinary and international environment, and a high motivation to share results in conference talks and journal articles. Fluency in English (written and spoken) and strong communication skills, in particular experience in the publication of research results in peer-reviewed journals, is required.

PhD applicants:

Applicants must have a degree in climate science, atmospheric sciences, meteorology, environmental science, statistics, computer science or in a related field. Advanced programming skills (python, R, shell scripting, UNIX/Linux operating systems), statistical background (extremes, event attribution, multivariate statistics and/or machine learning) and previous experience in climate or atmospheric research are of advantage. Regardless of background, the successful applicants will have a dynamic personality, motivation to work on Earth System Model emulators and/or Earth System Model data, as well as cutting-edge numerical climate models and their output, the ability to carry out research in an interdisciplinary and international environment, and a high motivation to share results in conference talks and journal articles.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Interested?

Please include a letter of interest/motivation, your CV including transcripts, an indication of programming skills, and the names and contact information of 2-3 references. As there is some flexibility about the research topics within the overall outlined research areas, please indicate the specific research topics you would be interested to address and how they are related to your previous expertise. The application deadline is July 31st, but the review of applications will continue until the positions are filled.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science can be found on our website. Questions regarding the positions should be directed to Prof. Sonia I. Seneviratne, ([email protected]), Dr. Lukas Gudmundsson ([email protected]; XAIDA, PROVIDE), or Dr. Jonas Schwaab ([email protected]; PROVIDE). Administrative requests should be directed to Barbara Wittneben ([email protected]).


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