University of Cambridge

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Post-doctoral Researcher in Volcanic Plume Modelling

We seek to recruit a postdoctoral researcher to join a major NERC-funded project that aims to improve the operational forecasting of the spread of volcanic ash clouds. The project is titled Radar-supported Next-Generation Forecasting of Volcanic Ash Hazard (R4AsH), and is led by Lancaster University in collaboration with the universities of Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford, Reading and St Andrews with additional partners in the UK Met Office, Italy, Switzerland and the US. By combining laboratory experiments and satellite data with numerical modelling, the project will explore the potential of millimetre-wave radar for providing near real-time measurements of ash particle size and number density in volcanic plumes. R4Ash started in July 2019 and good progress has been achieved for many deliverables.

The researcher will be based at the University of Cambridge and will apply analytical and numerical skills to characterize the eruption source terms needed for volcanic ash transport and deposition models. The candidate will start in December 2020 or shortly thereafter, and the position is for a fixed term of 12 months.

The post will be supervised by Dr Michael Herzog and will be based in the atmospheric and volcanic processes group at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. It will focus on the application of the Active Tracer High-Resolution Atmospheric Model (ATHAM) for detailed near-vent plume modelling. A particular focus will be on the impact and efficiency of ash aggregation. Model outputs will be used to generate radar backscatter properties that will help to guide the application of ground-based radar equipment for real-time measurements of volcanic ash clouds. Applicants should have a doctorate in atmospheric or environmental science, physical volcanology, physics, applied mathematics or a related field and, ideally, a strong background in numerical modelling and fluid dynamics. Proficiency in computer programming (e.g. FORTRAN) is expected.

Informal inquiries should be directed to Dr Michael Herzog by email to

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Please quote reference LC24167 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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