Open Position for an ESR

Early Stage Researcher in the framework of VERTIGO


"Volcanic ash:
field, experimental and numerIcal investigations of processes during its lifecycle"

VERTIGO is a multi-partner ITN (Initial Training Network)
funded under the
FP7 Framework "FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN"
Grant agreement number: 607905
Project duration: January 1, 2014 till December 31, 2017.
See also the project-website


The Meteorological Institute of the LMU will employ one ("ESR-3") out of thirteen ESRs. The appointment is planned for 3 years (full time). During this time, the researcher will spend several months on secondments at other Full or Associated Partners of the VERTIGO consortium. As a consequence, the ESR has the unique opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary framework including academic partners from e.g. atmospheric science, volcanology, and geology, and industrial partners. The ESR will participate in several summer schools and workshops and will attend the most relevant scientific conferences.

The project is supervised by Matthias Wiegner. Co-supervisors are Stefan Amtsbüchler (Deutsche Lufthansa) und Bernadett Weinzierl (DLR).

The project start is envisaged in 2014, hopefully not later than September 1.

  • Project title:

    Airline companies and volcanic eruptions: Approaches to better combine information from different research disciplines (atmospheric measurements, modelling, engineering)

  • Objectives:

    • Improving the spatiotemporal accuracy of the retrieval of volcanic ash mass concentration
    • Compilation of scientific, legal and industry sources of volcanic ash-related information
    • Implementation of volcanic ash knowledge in flight plan models

  • Relevant scientific topics:

    • Lidar/ceilometer measurements: lidar remote sensing is the most suitable technique to derive aerosol properties (e.g. of volcanic ash) with very high spatial resolution. With advanced lidar systems (multi-wavelength, polarimetric, Raman scattering) several optical properties of aerosols can be determined and used to characterize aerosol layers and to distinguish different types of aerosols. However, such advanced systems are quite rare. In contrast, ceilometers provide the vertical distribution of aerosols only but as a consequence of the existence of networks the horizontal coverage is good. Thus the two intrastructures should be merged.

    • Dispersion and chemistry transport models: numerical models are extremely useful to provide spatial coverage, i.e., they can fill the gaps left by observational networks. Compared to lidar products the vertical resolution is however low, consequently, a combination of model results and measurements is foreseen. Furthermore, lidar data shall be used for validation purposes, and the benefit of additional datasets (e.g. radar, spaceborne observations) shall be investigated.

    • Scattering theory: the relation between optical properties (as derived from lidar measurements) and mass concentration is quite complex. Numerical studies with special focus on non-spherical particles shall be conducted to derive suitable conversion factors and their variability.

  • Requirements:

    • Strong background in atmospheric sciences and in at least two of the above mentioned fields of aerosol research.
    • Proficient in English, knowledge of the German language would be helpful
    • Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary framework

  • Comments:

    • Mobility rule: Candidates from any nation may apply. Within the last 3 years, the ESR must have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) more than 2 years outside of Germany. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
    • Scientific age: Since the day of having received the degree that allows for starting a PhD, the ESR may not have been working in science for more than 4 years (full employment equivalent). At the day of signing the contract, the ESR may not have received a PhD diploma yet.
    • Equal Opportunity: The VERTIGO network is an Equal Opportunity educator and employer committed to recruiting, supporting and fostering a diverse community of outstanding students. All applicants who share this goal are encouraged to apply. We strongly encourage the application of women.

    If you have further questions please contact the supervisor or check the VERTIGO-website.

    If you want to apply please send an e-mail including all relevant information to Matthias Wiegner.

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