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PhD position in Physical Oceanography

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The ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUTE HELMHOLTZ CENTRE FOR POLAR AND MARINE RESEARCH (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals. The section Physical Oceanography of Polar Seas invites applications for a PHD POSITION IN PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY.


The Southern Ocean around the Antarctic continent representsa window to the deep ocean. Dense waters produced on the shelf areas by both heat loss to the atmosphere and brine rejection during the formation of sea ice tend to sink downward along the continental margins, thereby entraining relatively warm deep water. Melting of sea ice, ice shelves and icebergs provide a positive buoyancy forcing, which together with the large-scale wind stress curl may result in areas of widespread upwelling. All of the above processes take place the in Weddell Sea, where a large fraction of the Antarctic Bottom water is produced. The latter subsequently moves northward to ventilate the abyssal areas of all major ocean basins. In the recent decade, widespread warming of deep waters around Antarctica have been observed, pointing to changes in both wind and buoyancy forcing. Potential changes in circulation may lead to profound changes in how the oceans interact with the sea ice and ice shelves around Antarctica.


The thesis will focus on the analysis of a unique observationaldataset of velocity, temperature, salinity from Weddell Sea obtained from moored platforms, research vessels and profiling floats collected over the past two decades. The goal of the thesis is to synthesize the data sets in order to deduce the spatial structure and temporal variability of the meridional overturning in the Weddell Sea and the associated transports of heat and salt. The ocean fluxes shall then be reconciled with estimates of sea-surface buoyancy fluxes in order to provide a first order description of the vertical circulation of Weddell Sea.


You should hold a M.Sc. degree in physical oceanography, environmental physics, climate physics, or related fields. An excellent background in fluid dynamics and good programming skills in Matlab are required. You should have very good command of English in writing and speaking (corresponding to level B2/C1) be willing to interact with an interdisciplinary science community.


  • ... receive an intense training in advanced technique of data analysis,
  • ... be able to join a research expedition to Antarctica aboard AWI’s research icebreaker R/V Polarstern to obtain a hands-on experience,
  • ... be supervised by a team of at least three experts in your field.
The position is limited to 3 years.

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure.
 The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven. Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate “Career and Family”.
As Ph.D. student at AWI you will obtain the opportunity to subscribe to the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( [1] ).

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (cover letter with motivation, CV and two references / letters of recommendation) by FEBRUARY 15TH, 2016 referencing code 13/D/Kli to :
Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung,
Personalabteilung (human resources), Postfach 12 01 61, 27515
Bremerhaven/Germany (or by e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF
file) to :
For more information or questions regarding the project please contact PROF. DR. TORSTEN KANZOW.