PhD project offered by the IMPRS-gBGC in

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Project description

Rising anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO2 and CH4 continue to increase the radiative forcing of the atmosphere, with implications for our planet’s climate. Emissions are annually reported at the national level to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) according to specific guidelines. However, required mitigation efforts such as emission reduction need to be accompanied by independent verification. Observations of the abundance of GHGs in the atmosphere by networks of tall towers and by remote sensing from satellites in combination with inverse transport simulations allow for independently estimating surface-atmosphere exchange fluxes.
This project targets the augmentation of such a monitoring system with airborne measurements. The Airborne Trace Gas Measurements and Mesoscale Modeling group has developed instrumentation to enable observations of GHGs made by commercial airliners within the IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System) project (IAGOS webpage) as well as campaign-based observations made with the German High Altitude and Long Range (HALO) research aircraft. Furthermore, an inverse atmospheric transport modeling system is available to interpret the airborne observations and to derive improved flux estimates. The proposed project will focus on the application of inverse modeling to airborne observations to address the following research questions:
  1. To what degree can airborne profiles of GHGs be used to derive anthropogenic emissions?
  2. How can airborne in-situ observations be used to validate remote sensing observations from aircraft and satellite?
In order to address these research questions, the candidate will work on the further development of the regional modeling system to be used for the quantification of GHG emissions. Furthermore, the candidate will assist in the collection, processing and quality assurance of airborne GHG observations within IAGOS and during HALO measurement campaigns.

Working group & planned collaborations

The ATM group led by C. Gerbig has a long background of instrument development for airborne observations and of regional model development. Collaborations are planned with European partners within the IAGOS project consortium and with the Institute of atmospheric physics at DLR.


Applications to the IMPRS-gBGC are open to well-motivated and highly-qualified students from all countries. Prerequisites for this PhD project are:
  • a MSc degree providing a strong analytical background (e.g. environmental science, physics, computer science, mathematics, or similar)
  • knowledge/experience in statistics and in scientific programming (languages such as R, FORTRAN)
  • interest in using environmental observations
  • very good oral and written communication skills in English

After you have been selected

The IMPRS-gBGC office will happily assist you with your transition to Jena.
The conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and those of the German civil service. The gross monthly income amounts about 2000 EUR, which will cover all your expenses in Germany.
The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max Planck society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

(a) The HALO research aircraft allows for operation of in-situ and remote sensing GHG instruments; (b) IAGOS aircraft provide regular information on atmospheric composition.
(a) The HALO research aircraft allows for operation of in-situ and remote sensing GHG instruments; (b) IAGOS aircraft provide regular information on atmospheric composition.

>> more information about the IMPRS-gBGC + application