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September 2011
Message 82

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[Met-jobs] PhD Position at the University of Bern (Switzerland)

From "Roger Brugge" <r.brugge@reading.ac.uk>
To "met-jobs@lists.rdg.ac.uk" <met-jobs@lists.reading.ac.uk>
Date Tue, 27 Sep 2011 07:47:25 +0000

PhD Position at the University of Bern

Dear all,

A PhD position in the field of atmospheric dynamics / forecast
verification is available at the newly founded Climate Impacts group at
the University of Bern.

Funding is available to analyze atmospheric precursors to heavy
precipitation events in northern Switzerland. More details are provided
in the abstract included at the bottom.

The successful candidate will work in the Climate Impact group of
Professor Olivia Romppainen-Martius at the University of Bern
(<http://www.geography.unibe.ch/content/forschungsgruppen/klimafolgen/index_eng.html>).
The project is part of the PANDOWAE research group
(<http://www.pandowae.de/>) and the THORPEX initiative.

  I am looking for enthusiastic candidates with a Masters Degree in
atmospheric sciences, geosciences, environmental sciences, physics or a
related field. Ideally you have a some background in atmospheric
dynamics and a knack for programming.

For full consideration please send via email a CV, names and contact
information of two references (preferably the supervisors of your master
thesis project) to:
<olivia.martius@giub.unibe.ch> . If you need more information your are
welcome to contact me by email or by phone to discuss the project.

Review of applications will begin in mid-October and will continue until
the position is filled. The position will be available from 1 November
2011, but start dates are negotiable.

Applications from qualified women are warmly invited.

Kind regards
Olivia Romppainen-Martius

Abstract:

Heavy precipitation events occurring in steep terrain such as the Alps
often trigger
mass movement events (e.g. rock-falls or mud-avalanches) with devastating
consequences for population, settlements and infrastructure. Breaking
synoptic-scale
Rossby waves over western Europe can trigger such high-impact heavy
precipitation
events on the Alpine south-side. The breaking waves form meridionally
elongated
upper-level troughs. The southerly wind component along the eastern
flank of the
breaking waves brings moist air towards the Alps, where the air is
forced to rise and
precipitation sets in. The breaking waves are in return preceded by
upstream Rossby
wave trains (precursor RWTs) over the Atlantic and sometimes even the
Pacific basin.
The extended lifetime of such precursor wave trains may be exploited to
improve the
forecast of these high-impact weather events on the medium time-scale (5
to 10 day
lead time).

In contrast, our knowledge of the local synoptic-scale structures
triggering heavy
precipitation events on the Swiss Alpine north-side and of potential
precursor RWTs to
these events is limited. The goal of the first part of the proposed
project is to fill this
gap in knowledge regarding both the local upper-level structures and the
upstream
precursor waves. We will use a high-resolution observation-based
precipitation
climatology to identify heavy precipitation events affecting the Swiss
Alpine north-side.
For these events a detailed statistical and dynamical analysis of the
upper-level flow
will be conducted using climatologies of synoptic-scale propagating and
breaking
Rossby waves as well as reanalysis data sets.

The second part of the project will use the results from the first part
of the project and
from previous research projects of the PI to address the question how
well heavy
precipitation events in Switzerland (both northern and southern
Switzerland) are
predicted by a state of the art numerical weather prediction (NWP) suite
(the European
Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts' (ECMWF) IFS model) for
medium-range (5
to 10 days) forecast lead times. The spatial and temporal evolution of
forecast errors
associated with RWTs including precursor RWTs will be investigated for a
three-year
period from summer 2008 to summer 2011. This will include the
development of novel,
sophisticated object-based forecast error measures.
A detailed analysis of the processes leading to errors in the
medium-range forecast of
heavy precipitation events is planed for a small sample of selected
heavy precipitation
events in collaboration with the group of Michael Riemer (co-PI).



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