July 2014
Message 41

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[Met-jobs] PhD Position at LSCE, France: Estimation of regional greenhouse gas fluxes

From Michel Ramonet <>
Date Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:03:18 +0200

3-years PhD Position at Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement

Estimation of regional greenhouse gas fluxes using atmospheric concentration and flux tower measurements from the ICOS network and data-assimilation


Philippe Ciais and Michel Ramonet (LSCE, Gif sur Yvette France)


A PhD position has been awarded by the Climate KIC ( to develop innovative techniques using measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) mole fractions, meteorological parameters and flux tower data in order to improve the estimates of emissions and natural sinks at the national and regional levels, in the context of European climate mitigation policy.

Existing international treaties and legislations have set objectives for EU countries greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions reductions for the next decade. Any broader future international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions will need robust methods for monitoring and verification of emissions and sinks. International initiatives in this domain are framed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Every year, each country has to report to the UNFCCC its inventories of emissions of industrial and biogenic GHGs. Current emission reporting is based on 'bottom-up' accounting methods, for which guidelines are proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the assessment of climate change. These procedures are based on activity metrics such as economic and land-use databases, emission factors relating these activities to GHG emissions.

Uncertainty of bottom-up approaches varies significantly with the considered GHG and economic sector. Inventory methods are poorly adapted to monitor land use emissions and sinks of CO2, and emissions of CH4 and N2O by agriculture, given the complex European landscape of natural and cultivated ecosystems, and the highly diverse land use strategies. Improved quantification of regional emissions of CO2, N2O and CH4 is yet essential for the design of national and regional environmental policy directed at emissions verification and mitigating climate change.

The development of dense atmospheric monitoring networks such as ICOS brings new data for emission quantification at regional and national scales. Top-down analyses using observed atmospheric concentrations together with atmospheric transport models or atmospheric tracers, can then be used to constrain GHG emissions and sinks. The main benefits of atmospheric observations to track GHG fluxes is that they provide a completely independent method for verifying “bottom-up” inventory estimates, as they use totally different input information, and potentially can give confidence on inventories provided by other countries.

For the proposed thesis, emphasis will be put on the quantification of greenhouse gases emissions and sinks over Western European countries. Monitoring networks like ICOS ( offer an access to precise observations across Europe in near real time, thanks to a quality control of the observations in order to reduce the data gap. Continuous long term measurements also offer the opportunity to assess the atmospheric trends, and the way atmospheric concentrations react to specific events (e.g. heatwaves, specific anticyclonic events in winter during which a build up of pollutants and greenhouse gases is observed near the surface). The student will have to assess the representativeness of GHGs measurements depending on the meteorological situation, with the objective to optimize the data assimilation with a mesoscale transport model. In a second step, the student will derive more elaborated data products, especially regional surface fluxes, calculated from the observations from the ICOS high towers, mixed together with information about the regional atmospheric transport provided by a model. CO2 and CH4 flux analysis, derived from high resolved spatiotemporal information will help to the independent verification of national and regional inventories.


Applicants should hold a Master degree Master degree in Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Meteorology or Physics. Excellent English language and communication skills (oral and written) are required. Knowledge of UNIX, Fortran and informatics is desirable, as well as a good background in statistics.

The successful candidate will be employed at LSCE in Gif-Sur-Yvette, France for 3 years . The PhD studentship is awarded by the Climate KIC ( This gives the student the opportunity to take part in Climate KIC activities including participation in ‘the Journey’ a summer school involving placements abroad and group activities with other students. The pHD grant has a dedicated budget for traveling and local computer resources.

Application procedure

Applicants should submit a CV and motivation letter with at least 2 professional references by September 1st, 2014 to: Michel Ramonet (

Selected applicants will be invited for an interview in September 2014. The position will start latest on December 1, 2014.

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