March 2016
Message 37

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[Met-jobs] Open PhD position on aeolian soil erosion in Bordeaux (France)

From Sylvain Dupont <>
Cc Sylvain DUPONT <>
Date Thu, 10 Mar 2016 13:31:36 +0100

 A PhD position is open at the ISPA laboratory in Bordeaux (France) on aeolian soil erosion in presence of vegetation in the framework of the WIND-O-V project.

Context – objectives - method

Soil erosion by wind, including saltation and dust suspension, has many environmental and climatic implications. At global scale, mineral dust represents 32% of annual natural emission of aerosols in the atmosphere, impacting the Earth radiative budget and biogeochemical cycles. At local scale, wind-blown sand damages agricultural areas through abrasion, burial/uprooting, and wind-blown dust impoverishes soil in organic matters and nutrients. In semi-arid regions, fertility loss of soil due to wind erosion should be modified in the future by the combined effect of climate change and increasing human activities.

Dust emission schemes present in climate models to predict dust cycle and their local to global impacts, give different predictions from one to the other due to their poor representation of near-surface winds and vegetation. To overcome these limitations, this PhD project attempts to develop a new generation of wind erosion schemes for large-scale models, predicting the amount and size of emitted dust from bare and sparse vegetated surfaces.

To that purpose, the PhD student will rely on an original modelling approach of wind erosion over vegetated surfaces, based on a high resolution of the wind-particle-surface interaction. Associated with field measurement in Tunisia, this innovative modelling exercise will enable (1) to quantify soil erosion and soil fertility loss following vegetation and soil characteristics and wind conditions, (2) to develop new emission schemes for large-scale models, and (3) to deduce optimal crop organizations for sustainable soil management.

This PhD lies in the more general context of the WIND-O-V project (Aeolian erosion in presence of sparse vegetation) funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and coordinated by S. Dupont (2016-2019).

The novelties of this PhD are (1) to cover the whole erosion process, including saltation, dust suspension, on bare and vegetated surfaces, (2) to combine modelling and field measurements, (3) to use state-of-the-art models coupling an instantaneous representation of the wind (Large-Eddy Simulation approach) and a complete model of soil erosion, covering particle size from micron to an hundred of microns in diameter, and (3) to use a novel method to measure dust flux per size class, based on the eddy-covariance approach, in order to validate the model. This PhD will be done in interaction with WIND-O-V’s partners who have a unique expertise on geophysics, sedimentology, and theoretical and environmental fluid mechanics.

Expected profile

-      Master or engineer in fluid mechanics, atmospheric physics, or geophysics with an interest in modelling
-      Good experience in programming under Linux environment
-      Excellent writing skills, fluent in English
-      Rigorous, autonomous, creative and motivated by working in a research environment

Supervision and working conditions

The PhD student will be co-supervised by Sylvain Dupont (Research Director at INRA) and Eric Lamaud (Research Fellow at INRA) and will be integrated within the Environmental Mechanics team of the ISPA lab and within the lab consortium of the WIND-O-V project. The student will benefit from the scientific and methodology experience of the team and consortium. He (or she) will have access to the ISPA’s computational resources and to the ADA cluster of IDRIS. Finally, he (or she) will benefit from the national and international collaborations established by the team and consortium.

The PhD student will be based at the Interactions Sol-Plant-Atmosphere (ISPA) lab in Bordeaux. This lab offers an excellent scientific environment; it is member of the Labex COTE and Idex of Bordeaux University. The lab is located at INRA campus, within a few minutes from downtown Bordeaux. The PhD student is also expected to participate to field experiments in Tunisia. The PhD student will be registered at the “Sciences and Environment” doctoral school of the University of Bordeaux.

The PhD student will be offered a three years contract with INRA. The gross salary will be 1750 € (including social security for illness, maternity and unemployment, as well as financial help for public transportation and canteen). The PhD is expected to start by Fall 2016.

How to apply?

Any Master student interested in this project is required to send his/her CV and a motivation letter to Sylvain Dupont ( at before July 1st 2016.


Dr. Sylvain Dupont | Directeur de Recherche

Bâtiment C2
71 avenue Edouard Bourlaux
CS 20032
33882 Villenave d'Ornon CEDEX

Ph:  +33 (0)5 57 12 24 33

website | email | Phone | WIND-O-V

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