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1 x 65% PhD position (f/m/d)

The Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP) at the University of Bremen offers  - under the condition of job release - at the earliest possible date a

3-year PhD position (f/m/d)
German federal pay scale E13 TV-L (65 %)

in the research area

Remote sensing of aerosol properties and surface reflectance in the Arctic from satellite observations – Changes and Analysis

The time limitation is subject to the scientific qualification according to the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract, §2 (1) (WissZeitVG – Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz). Therefore, candidates may only be considered if they dispose of the respective scope of qualification periods according to §2 (1) WissZeitVG.

The position is framed within the overarching Collaborative Research Center TR172 „ArctiC Amplification: Climate Relevant Atmospheric and SurfaCe Processes, and Feedback Mechanisms (AC)³”, funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG). After a very successful first phase, (AC)³ is moving forward to its second phase, starting January 1st, 2020. The project pursuits an improved understanding of the processes leading to the recent warming of the Arctic high-latitudes, synergistically exploiting a variety of modeling and observational approaches. Therefore, close collaboration is planned with national partners (Universities of Leipzig and Cologne, Alfred Wegener Institute - AWI - for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven/Potsdam and Center for Tropospheric Research - TROPOS - in Leipzig).

The work addresses the need to establish and investigate changes of aerosol properties and Surface Spectral Reflectance (SSR) in the solar spectral region, their origins and impact on Arctic Amplification. To achieve this goal, the temporal changes in aerosol loading and type and SSR between 60◦ N and 90◦ N are to be investigated over the past 2–3 decades using data from a series of nadir sounding satellite spectrometers. The research focuses on the determination of the SSR and aerosol optical properties for cloud free scenes. Aerosol retrieval algorithms developed at IUP/University Bremen shall be optimized and adapted for selected data sets. These deliver Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT), and aerosol type, SSR and other relevant parameters.  Equally important is the determination of the SSR. Having established the time series of data products, comprising consistent and consolidated aerosol optical properties and SSR for 60°N to 90°N, these data will be analysed and the role of changing aerosol optical parameters and surface type and reflectance in the Arctic Amplification and any feedback will be investigated.
During the first half, the doctoral student will work closely with the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC). The focus of the expedition is related to the (AC)³ project and requires about one year of satellite data analysis of clouds, surface and aerosol parameters, which the candidate has to create, select, prepare and deliver with the team. Data will be evaluated or visualized along the drift route of the ship and on larger scales. Conversely, the ship measurements will also help to validate the satellite data evaluations.


  • The successful candidate holds a Master-of-Science-equivalent degree in one of the following disciplines: physics, geophysics, meteorology, mathematics or computer science. Grade point average must be better than B (English grade) or 2.0 (German grade).
  • He/she possesses experience in the Unix/Linux environment workflow, programming skills in at least one high-level language and
  • strong interest in atmospheric science with focus on light scattering, radiative transfer, remote sensing methods and observations, climate.
  • He/she brings along also a creative and independent mind set, together with
  • excellent communication and presentation skills, both in written and spoken English.

The position is embedded in the working group Cloud, Aerosol and Surface Parameter Retrieval  lead by Dr. Marco Vountas; further information can be found here: The group is part of the Institute of Environmental Physics and Remote Sensing IUP/IFE – in the department of Professor John P. Burrows which is offering a good working atmosphere and equipment. Further information about the institute can be found here:

As the University of Bremen intends to increase the proportion of female employees in science, women are particularly encouraged to apply. In case of equal personal aptitudes and qualification priority will be given to disabled persons.


For more information. please contact Dr. Marco Vountas (vountasprotect me ?!iup.physik.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de).

Please send your application documents, including a cover letter stating the research interest, a curriculum vitae with research and technical background as they relate to the position, a list of publications (if applicable), transcripts and contact information of, at least, two referees until February 26, 2020 by indicating the job id A13/20 to:

Institut für Umweltphysik
Universität Bremen FB1
Marco Vountas
Otto-Hahn-Allee 1
D-28359 Bremen

or (as a single PDF file) by e-mail: vountasprotect me ?!iup.physik.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

For applicants wishing to send your applicants by surface mail, please send us your application on plain paper (no folders) and do not send us original certificates as we are not able to return your applications.


Created on 31.01.20 by Alexandra Gutherz