PhD position

Modelling the impact of aviation aerosol on clouds and climate

Starting date

1 October 2019

Duration of contract

3 years


according to the German TVöD 13

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

Aviation emissions impact the climate through different compounds, like CO2, nitrogen oxides and aerosol particles. In spite of their great relevance for the society, the scientific understanding of several related processes is still poor. The climate impact of the non-CO2 effects of aviation requires a robust quantification that allows to include them in climate reduction targets.

Your PhD project will focus on aviation-induced aerosol particles and their interactions with clouds. Recent studies have found that not only ice clouds at typical cruise altitude (8-12 km), but also liquid clouds at lower levels can be significantly affected by aviation emissions. Aerosol particles can alter cloud radiative properties and hence impact climate. Model-based estimates show that these effects can be potentially very large, but the quantification is still affected by considerable uncertainties.

The goal of your PhD project is to better understand the above mentioned processes and to reliably quantify the climate impact of aviation aerosols on clouds. Your work will be embedded in the DLR research on aviation climate impacts. You will use a suite of models from process to state-of-the-art climate models and develop innovative methods for a better understanding and quantifying the effects of aviation. You will cooperate with other groups within our institute to combine your modelling data with observational data from dedicated aircraft campaigns and to give advice with respect to mitigation of the induced climate impact, e.g., future aircraft technologies and aircraft routing options.

Your qualifications:

  • good master degree in Physics, Meteorology or in a similar field
  • good programming skills in a Unix/Linux environment
  • experience in developing numerical codes, ideally with FORTRAN
  • open communication and team-working skills
  • fluent in written and spoken English
  • experience with complex algorithms and with data science methods is an advantage
  • knowledge of the microphysical and chemical process in the atmosphere is desirable
  • basic German language skills are of advantage

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Mattia Righi
Institute of Atmospheric Physics

Phone: +49 8153 28-1813

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Vacancy 43736

HR department Oberpfaffenhofen

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