Job offer

Search our database for further attractive career opportunities.

PhD Candidate (Sea-ice predictability, verification, and prediction)

Code: 137/D/Kli
Faculty: Science
Job type: Part time
Location: Bremerhaven

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, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

The section “Climate Dynamics”, located in Bremerhaven, invites applications for a position as

PhD Candidate
(Sea-ice predictability, verification, and prediction)

This position is part of the new Junior Research Group „Seamless Sea Ice Prediction“ (SSIP, 2017-2022), which is funded through the BMBF „Nachwuchsgruppen Globaler Wandel 4+1“ Programme and lead by Dr. Helge Goessling.

Advanced sea-ice prediction capacity is urgently needed to meet a growing socio-economic demand, driven in particular by an increasing accessibility of the Arctic in the course of cli- mate change. A few operational sea-ice prediction systems have been developed recently, but research on potential predictability suggests that sea-ice predictions could be much more skillful than is currently achieved. One impediment that hampers progress is a gap between short-term (days) and longer-term (months and longer) sea-ice prediction systems. SSIP works towards advancing sea-ice prediction capacity on timescales from hours to years and beyond. To achieve this, SSIP develops and conducts research with a seamless sea-ice prediction system based on the recently developed AWI Climate Model. The unstructured grid of the ocean/sea-ice component of this model allows to use high resolution in the Polar regions (plus other key regions) in a global setup, enabling a seamless application of the prediction system on a wide range of timescales. The group applies state-of-the-art techniques to initialise the prediction model using remote-sensing and in-situ observations; optimises and further develops the sea-ice component of the prediction model; and applies the prediction system to address research questions related to sea-ice predictability, verification, and the impact of different observations on sea-ice prediction.

You will work with the AWI Climate Model and the SSIP prediction system, to study the inherent limits of predictability of sea ice, conduct research towards improved sea-ice forecast verification methods, and/or evaluate the performance of the SSIP prediction system as well as other sea-ice forecast systems, considering both poles. Depending on the progress of the work and of the group as a whole, you may also pursue research ideas related to the initialization of the SSIP prediction system, the impact of model formulation and/or observations on forecast skill, or other topics that are in line with the goals of the SSIP group.

You must have a Master or equivalent degree in a relevant field such as meteorology, oceanography, climate sciences, physics or mathematics. Demonstrated programming skills, fluency in English, and a solid understanding of climate physics, in particular related to sea ice, and numerical modelling are all distinct advantages.

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Helge Goessling (; 04714831-1877)

The position is limited to 3 years and will start as soon as possible. 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.

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.

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 be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( or another graduate school.

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (CV including publication list, letter of motivation, name and address of two references)  by October 19th, 2018 referencing 137/D/Kli by e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to:

expedition tomorrow

General Information

The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the polar regions and the oceans of mid and high latitudes. As of the 18 Centres of the Helmholtz Association it coordinates polar research in Germany and provides ships like the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations for the international scientific community.