Posted by: Hendra Siry | 27 January, 2010

PhD Position at Global Climate of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Within the sector of Climate research and Seismology, department Global Climate of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) we offer a PhD position

General information

KNMI ( is the national institute for weather and climate change in the Netherlands. The Climate Research department focuses on understanding and predicting climate change. The section global climate in particular addresses the fundamental processes related to climate change and modeling of these processes. Understanding nonlinear climate change and decadal climate variations and developing scenarios for such variations are key issues in this department.

Job information

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)-program Feedbacks in the Climate System has funded the project “How the Meridional Overturning Circulation interacts with climate: cause and effect of variations in the sinking of deep water.”
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC; sometimes identified with the Warm Gulf Stream), transports large amounts of heat from the subtropics to more northerly regions. Multi-annual fluctuations in the MOC have a significant influence on European climate. Because the ocean is a relatively “slow” system, with a memory of many years to centuries, climate prediction is possible once the initial state of the MOC is known. A further demand, however, is that climate models correctly simulate the evolution of the MOC and the interaction between MOC and climate. Because the MOC is badly constrained by observations, the evolution of the MOC in climate models is hardly validated. We suggest a new strategy to validate the MOC/climate interaction and to assess model biases. Recently, a theory on the mechanism of the sinking of deep water, that is, the downwelling branch of the MOC was developed. With the aid of scaling laws and budget analysis one can assess whether models give an accurate description of the downwelling branch of the MOC.

Within this project three model configurations will be analyzed: The European Climate Model ECEARTH; its ocean component in stand-alone mode OPA_1.0; and the same ocean model in higher resolution: OPA_0.25. The aim is to make a quantitative assessment of MOC/climate feedbacks, by estimating lead/lag relations between the MOC and various oceanic and atmospheric fields, such as the heat and freshwater flux through the ocean’s surface and wind fields. We expect that the MOC/climate feedback can be represented by a chain of such relations. The theoretical analysis will serve as a framework to explain differences between models. Also, model results will be validated by observations taken at sea. From this comparison we will give a quantitative estimate of the model bias in MOC/climate feedbacks and an estimate of the various roles of processes like boundary-layer physics in the ocean; entrainment in overflows, air/sea iteraction.


We are looking for an enthusiastic, science-driven, outstanding young physicist or mathematician, or someone with a background in meteorology or physical oceanography. Experience in fluid dynamics, nonlinear dynamics and numerical modeling is welcome. The candidate should be theoretically strong, but also be able to perform numerical experiments with large computer models. This work will be carried out in close collaboration with the University of Utrecht. It is the intention that the work will result in a PhD from Utrecht University.

website link:
http://www.knmi. nl/over_het_ knmi/vacatures/ vacature201005en gels.pdf

Workingplace: De Bilt
Salary: The estimated PhD starting salary is €1.934,18 per month gross in the first year and increase to €2.571,64 gross in the fourth year.

Duration of the contract will be for a period of 4 years.

The selected candidate will be placed in the Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (SWO)KNMI.

Additional information about the job can be obtained from dr. Sybren Drijfhout, telephone number +31-(0)30-2206395, e-mail: drijfhou@knmi. nl
To apply, please send a detailed CV together with a letter of motivation, a list of references and a summary of your MSc thesis.

You can apply for this job by sending your application, with reference to the vacancy number KNMI 2010/05, before February 15, 2010 to recruitment@ with a CC to drijfhou@knmi


  1. More study resulting in global warming data are needed that are factual. Confiscated emails showing fraud and deceit in changing temperatures show global warming is exaggerated.

    We still need the scientific community to report correct data so pollution can be dealth with intelligently.

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