University of Bergen

Geophysical Institute

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.

PhD position in experimental water isotope meteorology

The Geophysical Institute at University of Bergen is seeking candidates for a PhD position in experimental water isotope meteorology with a focus on ocean evaporation in an Arctic environment. The position is for a fixed-term period of 3 years and is associated with the ERC Consolidator Grant project ISLAS (Isotopic Links to Atmospheric Water’s Sources), funded by the EU-H2020 programme.

About the project:

The central aim of the ISLAS project is to collect a new kind of high-resolution observational dataset that represents the stable isotope composition of atmospheric water vapour in the region of the Nordic Seas. The isotope composition will be covered along the entire transport history of water vapour, using novel instrumentation and sampling techniques, including aircraft and ground measurements. Integrating our new observations with state-of-the-art model tools holds the promise to identify compensating errors between evaporation and numerical diffusion, convection and cloud microphysics, and to enable a more consistent coupling of the water cycle components in models across scales and compartments. Within this stimulating project environment, one 3-year PhD position is available at the Geophysical Institute at University of Bergen. The successful applicant will be able to apply for a 12-month follow-up position within the ISLAS project that will be announced after completion of the PhD programme.


As a PhD, you will be part of the national research school on Changing Climates in the Coupled Earth System(CHESS), and you will also be affiliated with the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR). BCCR is the largest climate research centre in the Nordic countries and among the leading centres in Europe. The working environment is highly international with around 200 scientists from 37 countries.

Work tasks:

The successful PhD candidate will make new measurements of isotope fractionation during the evaporation process in the laboratory and in the field to identify the moisture source signal for specific weather events. Knowledge about the temperature dependency of the diffusion fractionation will be extended to the conditions during strong ocean evaporation events in the Arctic marginal ice zone. Near-surface vapour isotope measurements on Svalbard will be made to confirm expectations from laboratory experiments. The challenging PhD project will allow for a unique combination of laboratory, field and theoretical work and will be deeply integrated into the overall ISLAS project.


Specific tasks to target within this PhD include:

  • Obtain measurements of the diffusion fractionation between oxygen-17 and oxygen-18 in water vapour at temperatures below 10°C from in the laboratory

  • Complement and test the laboratory measurements with field measurements during strong evaporation events near the sea-ice edge on Svalbard targeting the kinetic fractionation parameters 17O-excess and d-excess

  • Implement and test the effect of modified fractionation coefficients in weather prediction and climate models with stable isotope fractionation

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • Applicants must hold a MSc or an equivalent degree within meteorology, climate dynamics, physics, environmental science, or other relevant disciplines, or must have submitted his/her MSc thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the MSc has been awarded.

  • Experience and interest in meteorology and climate in Arctic environments

  • Interest in scientific and technical aspects of laboratory and field work

  • Expertise in scientific scripting and programming and data analysis (e.g., Python, Matlab, R, C++, FORTRAN)

  • Evidence of independent research and writing skills

  • Proficiency in both written and oral English

  • Ability to work independently and in a structured manner

  • Ability to actively communicate and co-operate within a larger research team

Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


About the research training

As a PhD Candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.


We can offer:

  • a unique opportunity to combine university research with operational forecasting

  • to be part of the community developing the next generation of Arctic operational numerical weather prediction models

  • salary at pay grade 50 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 8) in the state salary scale. Further promotions are made according to qualifications and length of service in the position.

  • enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

  • a position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)

  • good welfare benefits

Your application must include:

  • a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position

  • the names and contact information for two references. One of these should be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis

  • CV

  • transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees. If lacking a master’s diploma, an official confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted

  • relevant certificates/references

  • list of scientific publication and other relevant outreach and communication activity

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.


General information

For further details about the position, please contact: Prof. Harald Sodemann, Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen,


The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. It is also a goal to recruit people with immigrant backgrounds. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.


The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.


Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.


Further information about the employment process can be found here.




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About this job

  • Deadline
    Wednesday, June 6, 2018
  • Employer
    University of Bergen
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  • Scope
  • Duration
    Fixed Term

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