September 2013
Message 23

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[Met-jobs] Post doc Position at CERFACS (Toulouse/France): Study of the environment impact of contrails with the view to their representation in climate models

From thouron <>
Date Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:24:58 +0200

Position details

Study of the environment impact of contrails with the view to their representation in climate models

Required Education



As soon as possible


1 year renewable


One the research activities carried out in the Aviation and Environment at CERFACS is the modeling and simulation of the impact of aviation on atmospheric chemistry and climate. Given the exponential increase of the air traffic it is anticipated that the number of passengers will double by year 2020 compared to present. This expected increase in traffic will be accompanied by an increase of gaseous and particulate emissions.

In addition to interacting with atmospheric trace gases, aircraft emissions induce the formation of contrails, which can later transform into persistent cirrus. The radiative effect of contrails and induced cirrus has been listed by Lee et al. (2009) as uncertain to very uncertain. In this context, the team Aviation and Environment study the formation, evolution and transition of contrails into induced cirrus in order to provide parameterisation to general circulation models.


The work will be undertaken in three steps:

1) Improvement of microphysical scheme of Meso-NH.

First, the different microphysical models and assumptions used in the literature for the simulation of contrails will be reviewed. Then, the thermodynamic / microphysical / radiative characteristics determined from observations will be identified. This study will be used to update the ice microphysics scheme of Meso -NH and prepare for the simulation of contrails at small scale.

2) Determination of standard atmosphere.

The MOZAIC and IAGOS programs were created to monitor the composition of the atmosphere so as to help characterizing the influence of human activity on the chemical and physical state of the atmosphere. They have collected experimental data by instrumenting commercial aircraft on selected routes.

The MOZAIC and IAGOS data-base will be analyzed to obtain statistics of the frequency of supersaturation and on the amplitude of temperature fluctuations encountered at cruising altitude of commercial airliners. Several types of atmosphere will then be determined. These data (MOZAIC and IAGOS) will then be used to initialize the simulations.

3) Development / Evaluation of parameterizations of contrails and induced cirrus for GCM:

Meso-NH will be used to estimate the lifetime and the vertical and horizontal extensions of contrails/induced cirrus as a function of the characteristics of the atmosphere determined in step 2). A study will be conducted to characterize the key parameters that determine the lifetime and dispersion of contrails / induced cirrus. Then, parameterizations of contrail lifetime and microphysical properties will be developed for use in large-scale (global) models and compared to existing parameterizations.

Experience in at least one of the following areas is mandatory: atmospheric modeling, computational physics, and statistical analysis. The candidate should also have expertise in at least one of the following programming languages and scientific software (and be willing to learn the others): Fortran 90, C/C++, Matlab, NCL. He/she will also have a level of scientific English that is adequate to thoroughly understand literature review and to write scientific papers.


Name: Thouron Odile

Name: Saint-Martin David

Name: Paoli Roberto

Name: Cariolle Daniel


around 2350 euros net

-- Odile Thouron CERFACS/A&E 42 avenue Gaspard Coriolis 31057 Toulouse Cedex 01 Tel : (33).(0) Fax : (33).(0)

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