PhD position in Hydrology Permafrost thaw and Arctic Rivers

Background of the research project Permanently frozen soils (permafrost) in the Arctic are expected to undergo accelerated large-scale thawing over this century. A frozen subsurface promotes fast shallow water flow and restricts slow deep groundwater ...

8 dagen geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Background of the research project
Permanently frozen soils (permafrost) in the Arctic are expected to undergo accelerated large-scale thawing over this century. A frozen subsurface promotes fast shallow water flow and restricts slow deep groundwater flow towards rivers. Therefore, permafrost thaw is expected to affect the timing and magnitude of river flows. Globally, changes in permafrost threaten infrastructure and facilities, impact wildlife habitat and aquatic ecosystem stability, increase greenhouse-gas emissions and carbon export, and have impact on subsistence activities. Despite this critical societal importance, models that can predict the effect of climatic changes on permafrost and subsequent water flow changes at continental scales are non-existent.

This project aims to quantify how thawing permafrost affects water flow through the arctic landscape and how this results in changing magnitude and timing of river flows. Broadly, the project is divided in three stages.
• Analysing long-term data records of river flows throughout the Arctic over a gradient of increasing permafrost to infer key relationships between permafrost and river flows.
• Detailed process-based modelling of permafrost thaw and its effect on groundwater-surface water interactions.
• Use the outcomes of the previous stages to predict the effects of permafrost thaw on river flows for the entire Arctic Eurasia.

The candidate is expected to present his/her research on national and international conferences, and finalize the work in a PhD thesis consisting of four papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. The PhD candidate will be a part of an international team of academics, postdocs, PhD students and MSc students that focus their research on permafrost. Close collaboration with and extended training visits to Stockholm University and US national labs are foreseen within the project.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who holds an MSc degree in Hydrology, Earth Sciences, or similar, with:
• Hands-on, creative attitude, and ability to work independently;
• Knowledge of statistical methods and/or modelling groundwater-surface water interactions;
• excellent ability to communicate in both written and spoken English;
• willingness to spend substantial time abroad.


The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for another 3 years (total duration of 4 years).

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
• remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• generous contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
• discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and ranges from a minimum of € 2222 gross per month up to a maximum of € 2840 gross per month based on fulltime employment (salary scale 85) for a PhD student.

Additional information

For additional information please contact Ype van der Velde at

Please send a cover letter (outlining your motivation and research experience, max. 2 pages), CV (max. 4 pages), two professional references and preferably a thesis or paper to Fenny Bosse with “PhD Permafrost thaw” in the subject line.

Application deadline: 31 August 2017.
Starting date: no later than January 2018.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW) offers a range of Bachelor and Master programs. Research at the faculty focuses on Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, and Health Sciences. Cutting-edge research and world-class teaching activities go hand in hand.
At the department of Earth Sciences, we study our dynamic planet from nano- to planetary scale. We quantify the key cycles and interactions in system Earth over timescales from seconds to millions of years by combining fieldwork, lab work and computer simulations. By bringing to bear our fundamental understanding of system Earth and our fresh curiosity we conduct research that is relevant for today’s societal challenges including sustainability, climate change and natural hazards. The department’s research facilities can be regarded as outstanding, while the department’s international focus fosters national and international collaboration, both contributing to high-quality and high-impact research outcomes.


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