PhD position: “The Intermittency of large-scale ocean mixing”

This vacancy is the result of the collaboration between Utrecht University and NIOZ. The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) of NIOZ and the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) of UU, are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in mathematics, physical oceanography, fluid mechanics (or equivalent) to examine time variability of mesoscale ocean mixing processes, both in observation and using high-resolution numerical simulations. The principal investigators dr. Sjoerd Groeskamp of NIOZ and dr. Michiel Baatsen of UU.

2020-12-17 12:55:25

VACANCY ID:         2020 – 70
CLOSING DATE     January 20th, 2021.

Researchers in the Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) study open-ocean processes and aquatic ecosystems from a variety of disciplines including physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, paleoceanography, and deep-sea ecology. We investigate the past and present ocean to assess its future role in the Earth system. We collect data during oceanographic research cruises and conduct experiments both at sea and in the laboratory at our home base on Texel. The department carries out work in diverse environments all around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from the Caribbean to the North Sea.

The Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) offers a unique research and teaching environment, in which the fundamentals of the climate system are studied. Research is organized in five themes: Atmospheric Dynamics, Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, Coastal and Shelf Sea Dynamics, Ice and Climate and Oceans and Climate. In 2017, IMAU research quality and impact were qualified as 'world leading' by an international visitation committee. Currently, IMAU employs 18 faculty members and 10 support staff and some 15 Postdocs and 29 PhD students, and offers a friendly, open and international atmosphere.

The ocean influences the climate we experience now, and in the future. It does so by influencing the concentrations of heat, carbon, oxygen and other properties in the atmosphere. The ocean achieves this through uptake, transport and storage of these properties from the atmosphere. How and how much uptake, transport and storage takes place, depends very strongly on mixing processes that occur in the ocean. Without a proper understanding of ocean mixing processes, we are therefore unable to fully understand earths current and future climate.

Mixing processes are very difficult and expensive to measure directly. This makes it difficult to understand these mixing processes, and their influence on our climate. In this project, we make use of new techniques that allow us to indirectly estimate mixing from variables that are much easier to observe, such as temperature and salinity. We will apply these techniques to existing mooring-based measurements of these variables and to observations that we will collect by means of a field campaign. This will provide time series of mixing at particular locations around the world. We will use this to understand how time variability needs to be included in coarse-resolution numerical simulations of the ocean. In addition, we will also analyze high-resolution numerical simulations of the ocean. In these simulations, the most dominant mixing scales are resolved. Therefore, we use the simulations to extract the mixing as calculated by the model and use these results to compare and contrast against observations.

In this project you thus taste many different aspects of oceanography: theoretical developments, data collection and analyses and working with numerical simulations. This research will contribute to improve our understanding of mixing, provide quantitative estimates of mixing and its variations in time. This knowledge directly feeds into our ability to understand the role of the ocean in the climate system and predict future climate. 

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a Masters-level degree in a natural science such as – but not limited to – physical oceanography, fluid dynamics or applied mathematics. Practical experience of scientific programming is desirable, and the willingness and aptitude to learn and develop these skills is essential. Participation in oceanographic research expedition(s) of several weeks’ duration is expected to be an important component of this project.

Candidates should be capable of independently planning and organizing their work and should be interested in taking a leading role in directing the course of their own research within the overall framework of the project. Proficiency in spoken and written English is essential, as the candidate will present their results at international conferences and write manuscripts to submit to peer-reviewed scientific journals. We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background to join us. The candidate will be hosted by the NIOZ on the island of Texel but will spend a significant amount of time at the IMAU.

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 4 years (fulltime). We offer a position for a period of 1 year (fulltime). At the end of this first year, the employment will be extended for a fixed-term of a maximum of 4 years, if the first year evaluation held with the employee is positive. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3%, flexible work arrangements and arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position).

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Sjoerd Groeskamp (Tenure track Scientist at NIOZ), prof. dr. Gert-Jan Reichart (Head of Department OCS at NIOZ), or Michiel Baatsen (Junior Assistant Professor UU). For additional information about the procedure, please contact Valentijn Tiemensma (senior HR advisor).

Learn more about the Department of Ocean Systems here, and learn more about the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht here.

Find more information about the UU-NIOZ projects here.

Interviews will be held online (Microsoft Teams) in week 10 of 2021.


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