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Post-doctoral Researcher in Atmospheric Modeling of Methane

The cluster seeks a highly motivated post-doctoral scientist with a background in atmospheric modelling to support the development of techniques for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions using ground based and space borne observations. The primary focus ...

12 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 3238 - € 4084 per maand


The cluster seeks a highly motivated post-doctoral scientist with a background in atmospheric modelling to support the development of techniques for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions using ground based and space borne observations. The primary focus of this project is the long-lived greenhouse gas methane. In October 2017, the Dutch pre-operational Sentinel 5 precursor satellite was successfully launched. Onboard is the TROPOMI spectrometer, capable of measuring the chemical composition of the atmosphere, including methane concentrations, at an unprecedented resolution and sensitivity.
The aim of this project is to investigate the use of TROPOMI total column retrievals of methane in the TM5-4DVAR inverse modelling framework to infer regional emissions of methane from the data. TM5-4DVAR, which uses the TM5 atmospheric transport model, has been applied successfully in the past to data from other satellites including SCIAMACHY and GOSAT. The significantly improved capabilities of TROPOMI, as demonstrated already in an early phase of the mission, will allow a significant step forward in detecting and quantifying methane emissions. The work will be carried out as part of a European project (H2020 VERIFY) to develop a pre-operational system for verification of national greenhouse gas emission reports to the UNFCCC in the framework of the COP21 climate agreement. Besides the exploration of TROPOMI data, the successful applicant will work in a team of European inverse modelling experts on the design of the new pre-operational system.
In this position, the work will be carried out in close collaboration with SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and TNO.

• to design the interface for using TROPOMI data in TM5-4DVAR
• to optimize the inversion setup, including the treatment of model and measurement uncertainties
• to support the use of TM5 as an atmospheric transport module in the pre-operational emission verification system
• to present results at project meetings and international conferences
• to publish in leading international journals


The Postdoctoral scientist is expected to:
• have a proven interest in regional up to global-scale modelling of greenhouse gases, and their role in the Earth’s climate system;
• have experience with atmospheric modelling, and its application to large datasets;
• have extended knowledge of the functioning of the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles;
• have a PhD in Atmospheric Science or a related field;
• be able to work successfully in an international research team;
• be fluent in English speaking and writing.


We offer a postdoc position for the initial duration of two years.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl 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;
• possibilities to save up holidays for sabbatical leave;
• a contribution to commuting allowance based on public transport.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and depending on experience, range from a minimum of € 3.238,- up to a maximum of € 4.084,- gross per month based on a fulltime employment.

Additionele informatie

For additional information please contact: Prof. dr. Ir. Sander Houweling, Department of Earth Sciences,
e-mail: s.houweling@vu.nl

Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities, motivation, and research interests, accompanied by a curriculum vitae with a full publication list. Written applications should be sent by e-mail before 15 February 2018 to Mrs. Fenny Bosse.

Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.

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


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 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 which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

Research at the Faculty of Sciences (https://science.vu.nl) focuses on Earth sciences, natural sciences and informatics, life sciences, health sciences, and environmental sciences. It offers a range of high-quality BSc and MSc programmes. World-class teaching and cutting-edge research activities go hand in hand.

The Department of Earth Sciences is one of the thirteen departments in the Faculty of Sciences. It operates with two research clusters: 'Earth and Climate' and 'Geology and Geochemistry' which teach the Earth Sciences and Earth and Economics BSc and MSc programmes. The Earth and Climate cluster has developed a strong teaching and research profile in the field of climate change focusing on carbon and nitrogen cycle research and landscape dynamics, both on a regional and global scale, and based on both fieldwork and modelling. Subjects include boreal and arctic carbon dynamics, hydrological modelling, terrestrial disturbances such as wildfires and deforestation, atmospheric dynamics of aerosols and greenhouse gases. Furthermore, in the larger cluster context, our integrated approach combines expertise in proxy development, (Quaternary) climate modelling, unraveling of landscape evolution and modelling, and reconstructions of climate evolution from terrestrial and marine records.