October 2013
Message 77

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[Met-jobs] DAAD PhD position in desert dust and cloud research

From "Bugliaro, Luca" <>
To <>
Cc Luca Bugliaro <>
Date Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:56:04 +0200

Applications are invited for a PhD position within the department of Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, to start as soon as possible.

Research Topic: Evolution of dust properties during transport combining spaceborne and airborne measurements

Host: DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Oberpfaffenhofen

Position: Doctoral Fellow

Job Description: Atmospheric mineral dust plays a vital role in
Earth's climate and biogeochemical cycles. As mineral dust particles
represent one of the main aerosol constituents, they impact
considerably the radiation budget and the hydrological cycle. As cloud
condensation and ice nuclei they can modify cloud properties and
possibly the formation/intensification of tropical cyclones. It is
estimated that annually more than 1000 Tg dust are uplifted into the
atmosphere, the Saharan and Sahel region being the largest global
contributor. Satellite instruments, both passive and active, have been
widely used to understand dust outbreak characteristics and dust
source activation, sometimes in conjunction with model
simulations. Also, patterns of Saharan dust transport across the
Atlantic and factors controlling it have been studied. Dust load (and
some dust microphysical information) can be assessed quantitatively by
spaceborne instruments with various techniques based on reflected
solar radiation and/or emitted thermal radiation.  Various sensors
have been applied to this end, including the MODIS instrument aboard
Terra and Aqua, the NOAA/AVHRR but also the geostationary SEVIRI
(Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager) instrument on the
Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellites. Being located above the
Equator around the 0°E meridian, the Saharan region and the westward
transport of dust can be optimally observed by SEVIRI with a spatial
resolution of 3 km x 3 km at nadir and a temporal resolution of 15
min.  This thesis addresses the evolution of physical and optical
properties of dust particles during transport from Africa across the
Atlantic Ocean. A tool for the discrimination between liquid water
clouds, ice clouds and mineral dust shall be developed starting from
algorithms already implemented at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics
at DLR for cloud detection and classification and from a volcanic
ash/desert dust retrieval using SEVIRI data. The outcome should
comprise dust optical thickness, effective radius, top height as well
as shortwave and longwave radiative effect at the top of
atmosphere. Special attention should be devoted to the
characterisation of the algorithm with respect to cloud, smoke or sea
salt contaminations, with respect to the possibility of discerning
dust from volcanic ash and to the accuracy of the retrieved parameters
under different meteorological conditions. With this tool and
additional satellite sensors (like the CALIOP lidar and CPR radar to
observe the vertical distribution of aerosols and clouds) and/or model
data (like ECMWF analyses) the quantification of the evolution of dust
properties and dust effects during transport from Africa to the
Caribbean Sea shall be performed. The focus will be on the SALTRACE
field campaign that took place in June/July 2013. During this
experiment, the DLR Falcon aircraft sampled dust and cloud properties
off the coast of Senegal and in the Caribbean. Additional ground-based
instruments were located on Barbados and Puerto Rico. The frequency of
occurrence of clouds together with dust layers and effects of dust on
cloud evolution and cloud optical or microphysical properties shall be

Required Qualification: This position requires a highly motivated, autonomous and creative personality interested in atmospheric physics with a master or equivalent degree in meteorology, physics, mathematics or a similar discipline. Programming skills in one of the high-level programming languages are mandatory.

Advantageous Skills: Knowledge in meteorology and atmospheric physics is beneficial, basic skills about satellite remote sensing of clouds are desirable.

English competence: Fluent speaking and writing in English is compulsory.

Application Deadline: Until the position is filled.

Further Information:


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