Postdoctoral Position on Aerosol-Cloud Interactions in East Antarctica - Leuven, Belgium

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Tags: postdoc | Geoscience

(ref. BAP-2021-358)

Last modification : Tuesday, May 4, 2021


You will be working on the CLIMB project (How do aerosol-CLoud Interactions influence the surface Mass Balance in East Antarctica?). This project is coordinated by the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium with partners Ghent University (research group EnVOC, Prof. Walgraeve), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Prof. Nicole van Lipzig), and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA, Dr. Michel Van Roozendael, UV-Vis DOAS Research). The Leibniz Institute for tropospheric research, TROPOS, in Leipzig, Germany, is a sub-contracted partner. CLIMB is financed by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) BRAIN-be programme.

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The water cycle, cloud microphysics and cloud-aerosol-interactions are recognized as key elements of the Antarctic climate system. Clouds and aerosols play a significant role in the radiative energy budget and aerosols impact cloud microphysics because they are cloud condensation and ice nuclei. In addition, clouds are an important part of the hydrological cycle serving as the agent linking water vapour transport into Antarctica with precipitation. Because precipitation is the only source term in the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic ice sheet, it is one of the key factors affecting sea level. However, current knowledge on the interaction between clouds, precipitation and aerosol in the Antarctic is still limited, both from direct observations and from regional climate models.


At the Belgian Antarctic research station Princess Elisabeth (PES), an observatory for aerosol, cloud and precipitation properties exists. The synergy of the data sets has been exploited in first case studies on the effect of aerosols on cloud and precipitation processes with an improved aerosol-cloud-precipitation parameterisation of the regional climate model (RCM) COSMO-CLM2. First results show a strong sensitivity of cloud microphysics to the number of ice nucleating particles (INP), and to a less degree to the number of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). CLIMB proposes to do systematic measurements of INP at PES, combined with meteorological, aerosol and cloud microphysics observations – both made at PES and at the typical precipitating cloud level and improving the aerosol-cloud-precipitation parameterisation in a regional climate model for East Antarctica.


You will be working on an analysis of the cloud-aerosol effect in the regional climate model COSMO-CLM2. Moreover, you will be analysing data from the cloud observatory at Princess Elisabeth and will prepare the Antarctic campaign for the season 2021/2022. You are expected to publish this work in a scientific journal.


Required qualifications:

  • To have a PhD degree in Earth - or Environmental Science, Climatology or related field (geography, meteorology, physics, mathematics, informatics, bioscience engineering, civil engineering, etc.);

  • To have demonstrated experience in computational programming, preferably at HPC facilities; Experience with climate modelling is a strong asset.

  • To have demonstrated verbal and written communication skills in English;

  • To have interest in working in a multidisciplinary team environment.


Postdoctoral Researcher

Starting date: 1 September 2021

Full time position for 9 months, possibly combined with a position that is offered at the same time on decadal climate variability in Antarctica: The role of atmospheric feedbacks. Please apply for both positions if interested in combining both positions.

Location: Department Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


Applicants should send (i) a statement of experience, qualification and interest, (ii) a complete CV, (iii) academic transcripts and publication record and (iv) the names and e-mail of at least two references to the online application system of KU Leuven.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Nicole Van Lipzig, tel.: +32 16 32 64 53, mail: nicole.vanlipzig@kuleuven.be.


Interviews will take place on Tuesday 8 June 2021 using teleconferencing.

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2021 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.