Position at the Research and Development Department of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.

The Research and Development Department of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium announces the opening of a post-doctoral position on a full time basis, funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office, within the framework of the project “East Antarctic surface mass Balance in the Anthropocene : Observations and multiscale modelling”. The main task of the successful candidate will be to perform statistical downscaling to assess the surface mass balance variability at local scale over East Antarctica.
Candidates should hold a PhD degree in physics, mathematics or engineering, and have research experience in ensemble statistical post-processing of numerical weather predictions and/or calibration of climate projections, and their application to climate systems and global circulation models.

Summary of the project

The climate of the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere has changed considerably over the last decades, but the origin and long-term relevance of those changes are not well understood, in particular because the short instrumental records do not allow documenting the full range of variability of the Southern Hemisphere climate system. Furthermore, climate models display large biases in their simulation of mean climate and recent trends. This reduces our ability to perform reliable estimates of future changes in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, with strong consequences for global scale projections of sea level rise as well as the atmospheric CO2 and surface temperature changes.
The Antarctic climate system is very complex with strong interactions between the ice sheet, atmosphere, ocean and sea ice. Within this complex system small scale variations often have large scale consequences, while regional processes are partly controlled by large scale dynamics. Therefore it is crucial to link the dynamics that affect Antarctica at different spatial and temporal scales in order to make progress in our understanding, and increase the confidence in the future projections for Antarctica. Within this framework, we propose to study the surface mass balance (SMB) in the Princess Ragnhild Coast (PRC) region, analyzing both changes over the last decades and centuries (Anthropocene) as well as the link between the regional variability and the large-scale atmospheric and ocean circulation.
In this project, we defined two main objectives. Firstly, we aim to understand the local processes responsible for SMB variability in the PRC region and to document the changes during the last 300 years. Secondly, we will establish links between local, regional, and large scale processes to determine the origin of the variability of the surface mass balance. This will allow assessing if the already observed changes over PRC (e.g. mass gain) are representative for larger areas and if these are the result of anthropogenic forcing and/or linked to the natural variability of oceanic and atmospheric circulation. Finally, the representation of the variability of East Antarctic surface mass balance in Earth System Models will be assessed and the implications for future surface mass balance projections will be analysed.


The successful candidate will be appointed for a 18-month period (at level SW1). The salary will be determined on the basis of the qualifications and the past experience, following the rules of the Belgian legislation.

To apply, please send (electronically), before June 30 2018, a curriculum vitae and a brief statement of research interests related to the position (max 1 page) to

Dr Stéphane Vannitsem
Email: svn@meteo.be