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PhD student Topic: “Role of complex oxidation pathways leading to organic aerosols in the atmosphere – an Earth System Modelling investigation”

Advertising institute: IEK-8 - Troposphere
Reference number: 2017-329

The sub-institute for Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8), investigates the chemical and physical processes in the troposphere that impact the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Anthropogenic activities, in particular increasing energy use and production, and natural processes release large quantities of trace substances into the atmosphere influencing living conditions on Earth. The sub-institute IEK-8 investigates the physical and chemical processes in the troposphere which have a major impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The processes include (1) the natural and anthropogenic emissions of trace substances at the earth's surface, (2) the chemical transformation of compounds in the atmosphere, and (3) the distribution of pollutants by atmospheric transport. The research focusses on the long-term observation of atmospheric trace gases, the understanding of the atmospheric self-cleansing capacity, and the formation and aging of aerosols. Observations and experimental results form the basis for the development of improved atmospheric models that are being used for predictions of regional air quality, and atmospheric chemistry and climate interactions. The global modelling group at IEK-8 is makes use of the advanced Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) to explore the complex chemical transformations that affect the evolution of atmospheric composition and climate.

We are looking to recruit a

PhD student Topic: “Role of complex oxidation pathways leading to organic aerosols in the atmosphere – an Earth System Modelling investigation”

Your Job:

Multiphase chemical processes are at the core of the evolution of trace atmospheric composition. Although much is already known about the kinetics of this multitude of reactions, recent experimental advancements indicate an important role of highly oxygenated molecules in oxidant recycling and organic aerosol formation. However, the explicit representation of their complex chemistry in Earth System Models (ESM) is currently either very limited or missing. Moreover, ESM high-resolution simulations with complex schemes are hampered by the required heavy load on computation resources. The project is aimed at a comprehensive model development and assessment of the processes leading to atmospheric organic aerosols at a global scale.

The candidate will:

  • develop a detailed representation of multiphase chemistry processes leading to precursors of secondary organic aerosols in collaboration with the experimental and theoretical groups
  • adapt the aerosol modules to the ICON/MESSy model which is currently under development
  • perform challenging atmospheric chemistry simulations at the highest possible resolution and achieve a comprehensive atmospheric budget and distribution of organic aerosols
  • assess the relative importance of aerosol nucleation and condensation
  • investigate the role of organic aerosols in the vegetation-atmosphere nexus

The project will be carried out at IEK-8 Troposphere in Jülich and in collaboration with the SimLab “Climate Science” at the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC) and the IEK-7 Stratosphere at FZJ

Your Profile:

  • Master degree in chemistry, physics, environmental sciences or a related field with good final grade (German system equivalent 2.0 or better)
  • Experience with computer programming (Fortran, Python, Ferret …) and Unix environment is essential

Our Offer:

  • Excellent scientific environment and technical facilities
  • Opportunities of being part of the national and international scientific community
  • Broad spectrum of training in the Graduate School HITEC ( and the Forschungszentrum
  • Exciting working environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • A comprehensive further training programme, including English language courses
  • Limited for 3 years
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD).

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

We look forward to receiving your application, preferably online via our online recruitment system on our career site, quoting the above-mentioned reference number.

Contact Human Resource Development and Recruiting
Anja Schurf
Tel.:+49 2461 61 9700