April 2017
Message 55

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[Met-jobs] PhD position available September 2017 at University of Waterloo (Canada)

From Chris Fletcher <>
To "" <>
Date Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:10:51 +0000

Funded PhD project on the measurement of terrestrial snow using a space-based 
instrument suite
Department of Geography & Environmental Management,
University of Waterloo, Canada

We invite applications for a PhD position in the Department of Geography and 
Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, Canada. This position 
is part of a three-year collaborative research project with Environment and 
Climate Change Canada and the University of Toronto, recently funded by the 
Canadian Space Agency, to investigate the use of space-based instruments to 
quantify snowfall and snow cover over land and sea ice. The anticipated start 
date for the position is September 2017.

**\Project background and scope of work/**
In an era of rapid changes to snow processes, such as rapidly retreating snow 
margins, thinning snow on sea ice, and changes to the character of cold-region 
precipitation, incorporation of accurate observational data related to snow 
processes into Earth System Models (ESMs) has become more critical for 
advancing quantitative prediction of climate variability and change.  This 
project focuses on Canada’s Arctic and SubArctic, and uses data from the Cloud 
Profiling Radar Instrument of the NASA/CSA CloudSat Satellite (launched in 
2006), to which Canada is contributing significantly.  The successful candidate 
will work to characterize space-based observations of snow falling on land, 
using a diverse range of available atmospheric and surface-derived measurement 
products. This novel application of observational data will then be applied 
toward our longer-term goal of improving the representation of snow, and 
snow-processes, in Earth System Models (ESMs).
        The candidate will first characterize the uncertainty of snowfall 
measurements over land, using observational networks principally located within 
Canada, to distinguish between snowfall in the atmosphere and snow on land. 
Next, a process based evaluation of snowfall evolution in ESMs will be 
conducted, based on the experience of sampling and characterizing the 
space-based data. The final objective is to apply the improved observational 
and model characterization gained to questions of climate variability and 
change. This includes evolving snow event extremes in Canada’s North, the 
changing thickness and seasonal cycle of snow, and process evaluation of 
snowfall in climate simulations.
        The project benefits from close collaborations with colleagues at 
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the University of Toronto, the 
University of Waterloo’s Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3), and 
the Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution (CanSISE) network ( As 
such, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to interact and share 
knowledge with a team of world leaders in the fields of snow observation and 
modelling, and to spend time visting at ECCC. 

**\Essential qualifications, skills, and desirable qualities/**
The successful applicant will hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a 
physical science, mathematics, or engineering, discipline related to the field 
of environmental remote sensing. Knowledge of remote sensing techniques 
(particularly related to passive or active microwave satellite sensors), cloud 
physics, seasonal snow and/or snow processes, would be a distinct advantage. 
This project requires extensive programming and development of data analysis 
tools in a Linux environment, and familiarity with one or more scientific 
programming languages, such as Fortran, Matlab, Python, or C++, would be highly 
beneficial.  The successful applicant will possess excellent academic 
qualifications, be intellectually inquisitive, an independent thinker and 
writer, eager to collaborate, and capable of communicating their results, 
orally and in writing, to a broad range of audiences.

**\Contact information and deadline/**
Informal enquiries about the position should be directed to the advisor and 
principal investigator Dr Christopher Fletcher (<>). 
For more information about Dr Fletcher's research group, see 
<>. For further details about the PhD 
programme in Geography at University of Waterloo see 
 Potential applicants are encouraged to respond quickly. A review of applicants 
will begin immediately, and short-listed applicants will be contacted to 
arrange telephone/Skype interviews beginning in late-April 2017.

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