3-yr PhD studentship: Systematic assessment of uncertainty in coupled carbon-nitrogen cycle models and their climate feedbacks

3-yr PhD studentship: Systematic assessment of uncertainty in coupled carbon-nitrogen cycle models and their climate feedbacks

 The new generation of land carbon-nitrogen-cycle models show that nitrogen feedbacks attenuate the responses of the carbon cycle to perturbations, thereby affecting long-term projections of climate change. However, the magnitude of this effect is very different between the models leading to considerable uncertainty in projected rates of climate change. This PhD project seeks to better understand and quantify this uncertainty by developing and systematically assessing alternative model components in a common, already existing framework. Key observations of global carbon-nitrogen cycling will be used to evaluate competing process formulations. The thoroughly examined set of model components, linked in a common global modelling framework, will be used to make ensemble projections of the effects of future global change on terrestrial feedbacks to the climate system, systematically assessing uncertainty in these projections stemming from uncertainty in both parametric and process-formulation of global carbon-nitrogen cycle modelling.

 We are seeking a highly-motivated and collaborative PhD student with a background in a quantitative science (e.g. geo-ecology, environmental science, biology, applied mathematics, physics, or computer science), experience in scientific programming, and an interest in applying their expertise to terrestrial ecology and global change research, and numerical modelling.

 The position will be in the Biogeochemical Systems Department (http://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/bgc-systems/index.shtml), and jointly supervised by the Computational Ecology and Environmental Science Group (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/ecology) at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK (MSRC). The successful applicant will join a young and international team in a vibrant research environment, and will profit from exchange visits to the MSRC lab. The successful applicant is also encouraged to apply for admission to the International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles. This is a structured PhD program that offers thematically complementary courses as well as seminars on soft and hard skills. For detailed information, see www.imprs-gbgc.de.

 For any questions contact:

Dr. Sönke Zaehle (szaehle@bgc-jena.mpg.de), Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany Dr. Matthew Smith (Matthew.Smith@microsoft.com) , Computational Ecology and Environmental Science Group, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK

 Application deadline is April 15, 2012.

The conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences and those of the German civil service. The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply.

Please send your applications including a letter of interest, CV, and the names and contact information of one or two references to Dr. Sönke Zaehle either via email to szaehle@bgc-jena.mpg.de, or directly to the institute’s address Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie, Postfach 10 01 64, 07701 Jena, Germany, by the 15th April 2012.


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