Postdoctoral scientist – Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Postdoctoral scientist: Coupled climate simulations and complex network analyses of Atlantic Ocean circulation

Conditional on the official approval of the project by the funding agency, research domain (RD) 1 “Earth System Analyses” of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) seeks to fill one position as a postdoctoral scientist starting 1 August 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is part of the new multilateral project GOTHAM – Globally Observed Teleconnections and their role and representation in Hierarchies of Atmospheric Models, which has recently been approved by the Belmont Forum / Joint Program Initiative (JPI) Climate.

GOTHAM represents an ambitious research program to gain robust, relevant and transferable knowledge of past and present day patterns and trends of regional climate extremes and variability of vulnerable areas identified by the IPCC, including the tropics and high-latitudes. It shall achieve this by identifying the influence of remote drivers, or teleconnections, on regional climate variability, and assessing their relative impact. It will also assess the potential for improved seasonal-to-decadal prediction using a combination of contemporary climate models, citizen-science computing and advanced statistical analysis. Members of the GOTHAM consortium comprise leading climate research institutes from Europe and Asia with an overall lead by the University of Oxford.

The postdoctoral scientist is expected to study the exact causes and consequences of the recent slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in close collaboration with scientists at VU Amsterdam and KNMI (Netherlands). A combination of climate model experiments and climate network analyses to paleo, instrumental and modeled data will be used to infer causal mechanisms and to understand the role of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The impact of AMOC variability and slowdown on the occurrence of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere will be assessed. The willingness to co-supervise students (within the topical field) and to contribute to model development is expected.

Qualification: The successful applicant should hold a PhD degree (or equivalent) in a relevant field (physics, oceanography, meteorology, climatology or similar) or expect to obtain this degree within a short period of time. The tasks of the project require experience with numerical modeling (ocean and coupled climate simulations) and knowledge of climate dynamics. We further expect solid scientific programming skills (ideally C++ and Python under Unix/Linux environments) and a willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team.

We offer a salary according to the German E 13 TV-L tariff scheme (up to 100%). The position will be funded on the basis of a fixed-term contract for a period of 3 years starting 1st of August 2016, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Interested candidates should send their complete application in English by email (preferably as a single PDF file), including a detailed C.V., a short letter of motivation and either one or more recommendation letters from former supervisors or corresponding contact details, to:

Dr. Dim Coumou

Research Domain 1 – Earth system Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Telegrafenberg A62, 14473 Potsdam, Germany.


Review of incoming applications will start on July 11th 2016 and continue until the position is filled.

PIK addresses crucial scientific questions in the fields of global change, climate impacts and sustainable development. Researchers from natural and social sciences work together to generate interdisciplinary insights and to provide society with sound information for decision making. The institute is located on a scientific campus in a forest in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, Germany. PIK seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. Applications of disabled persons with equal qualifications will be regarded favorably.  This position can also be filled part-time. PIK encourages applications by parents returning from parental leave.

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