May 2012
Message 29

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[Met-jobs] PhD position at the University of Leuven (Belgium): The effect of large-scale wind farms on the regional climatology

From Nicole Van Lipzig <>
To "" <>
Date Wed, 16 May 2012 11:34:45 +0000

PhD position at the University of Leuven (Belgium): The effect of large-scale wind farms on the regional climatology



Offshore wind deployment is foreseen to expand dramatically in the coming years. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) estimates the total current installed offshore capacity to be just under 4 GW in Europe (Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea). Solid progress has been made towards 40 GW of offshore wind by 2020. This expansion is strongly driven by EU and national policies that aim to provide a much greater penetration of renewable energy sources.


The strong expansion of offshore wind parks, is likely to affect the regional climatology of the coastal areas surrounding the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea. The main aim of this PhD is to assess the climate effect of a change in sea use, due to large-scale offshore wind deployment. For this, a regional climate model, namely the COSMO model in Climate Mode, will be used at kilometer-scale resolution. Such high resolution allows for an improved incorporation and understanding of the effect of land and sea use changes (like construction of wind parks) on the regional climatology including the feedback mechanisms acting on the local scale.


A wind turbine parametrization will be developed and implemented in the CCLM model. This will be done in close collaboration with another PhD project, where wind-farm large-eddy simulations will be performed. Together with this PhD student, you will also work on improving the optimal wind turbine operation mode, taking into account the effect of neighboring wind turbines. As the number of large wind farms in the northern European seas increases, the distance between the farms becomes smaller. Therefore the impact of large wind farms on the meteorological conditions at the neighboring farms is likely to increase considerably. This has important consequence for optimal control of wind parks.


The position is for a period of four years and will take place within the research group “Regional Climate Studies” of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in close collaboration with the research group “Thermal and Fluids Engineering” of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Leuven is a medieval university town a charming place with many historical buildings. The University of Leuven (1425) is among the oldest universities in Western Europe, and today it is the largest university in Belgium. Situated at the heart of Europe, Leuven is only twenty minutes by train to Brussels, two hours to Cologne, three hours to Amsterdam, and an hour and a half to Paris. You will be working within an interdisciplinary consortium that aims at an integrated approach for the optimization and control of large-scale wind farms. A third PhD project in this consortium will be focusing on an integrated electro-mechanical windfarm design. In addition, the work is strongly internationally oriented and embedded within the CLM community ( Several research visits abroad foreseen.


Interest in atmospheric sciences, excellent programming skills (e.g. fortran; preferably familiarity with LINUX/UNIX environment), good written and oral communication skills in English are required for this position. Candidates with a master degree (or about to finish) in a relevant science discipline with enthusiasm for atmospheric sciences will be considered. Experience with atmospheric modeling is a strong advantage.


Consideration of application will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Starting date is preferably 1 October 2012 but can be negotiated. For questions, please contact Prof. Nicole van Lipzig (contact information can be found on the link below). Applicants should submit a motivation letter, their transcripts, their curriculum vitae, and the names and e-mail of at least two references by post.


Applications should be sent (not emailed) to:

Marie-Rose Mottoul

Department of Earth- and Environmental sciences

Celestijnenlaan 200 E

B-3001 Heverlee



Supervisors of the project:

Prof. Dr. Nicole van Lipzig:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan Meyers:


Attachment: POST_Windparks_Climate.pdf
Description: POST_Windparks_Climate.pdf

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