PhD Position Coupled Sea Ice / Ocean Modeling for Improving Climate Predictions

Research / Academic

Sea ice is an extensive layer of frozen ocean that plays a crucial role in our climate system. In the last few decades, the global extent of the sea ice pack has diminshed drastically due to warming at the poles. Current climate models cannot capture this sea ice decline appropriately, notably due to lack of understanding of ocean / sea ice interactions at fine scles. By improving the accuracy in the modeling of the polar oceans, your work will help our ability to predict the trajectory of the climate in the coming decades.
In this project, you will use a model of ocean turbulence coupled with a discrete element model of sea ice to explore how their interactions impact the breakage, melt, freezing and thickening of the sea ice pack. You will test how future warming will affect these processes and quantify the impact of sea ice changes on the wider climate system. You will also have the chance to leverage the departmental expertise on remote sensing to produce comparisons between models and observations.
Your work will connect with the CliMA initiative at Caltech, MIT and NASA JPL, and the multi-university ONR initiative on sea ice, which both aim to sharpen our understanding of the climate using more efficient and accurate models. Throughout the project, you will have the opportunity to interact with these international research teams for scientific and technical exchanges. You will also benefit from cutting-edge software designed to be fast (GPU-accelerated), user-friendly and modular, which will allow you to make a strong scientific impact. 
We value your development as an independent thinker and therefore welcome your own ideas in shaping the research direction based on your specific interests. We also care that you develop skills and a network that will be important for your career beyond the Ph.D. program. In our faculty, you will interact with students and staff working on all aspects of the climate, including atmosphere, oceans and the cryosphere, from both modeling and observational perspectives.


  • Master's degree in Earth sciences, physics, applied mathematics, engineering, computer science or related discipline.
  • Strong skills in fluid mechanics, solid mechanics and numerical modelling.
  • Experience working with Matlab, Python or Julia.
  • A demonstrable interest in climate physics.
  • Good organizational skills and ability to work independently.
  • Good command of written and spoken English.
  • Experience with peer-reviewed scientific publishing will be appreciated.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Salary Benefits:

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 
For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Work Hours:

38 - 40 hours per week


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