PhD Position within the BioPICS project

Leipzig, 03.07.2024

Attributing the role of biogenic aerosols on clouds and radiation from ground-based remote sensing observations

The Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) is a research institute of the Leibniz Association and an internationally renowned institute in the field of aerosol and cloud research. An emerging frontline research topic is the characterization of the impact of biogenic aerosols on atmospheric processes. The recently established Leibniz ScienceCampus “Smoke and Bioaerosols in Climate Change” (BioSmoke) aims to understand the impact of the increasing frequency of wildfires on the abundance of biogenic particles in the atmosphere and the associated response of cloud processes.

As a branch of the Leibniz ScienceCampus, the project “Biogenic Particles In the Cloudy atmoSphere” (BioPICS) is dedicated to the assessment of biogenic aerosols in aerosol-cloud interaction processes based on long-term active and passive ground-based remote-sensing measurements (e.g., aerosol & Doppler lidar, cloud radar). The PhD project will be based in the Remote Sensing Department (RSD) of TROPOS, which has world-leading expertise in the acquisition and exploitation of aerosol and cloud remote sensing datasets, including novel techniques such as the observation of fluorescence signatures of airborne biogenic particles with lidar.


For the implementation of the BioPICS project, TROPOS invites applications for a position as PhD student (m, f, d). The successful candidate will explore the existing lidar and cloud radar datasets of the RSD team to identify and characterize events where wildfire smoke or other types of fluorescent biogenic aerosols were present. Co-located cloud radar observations will aid in the attribution of any impact of the biogenic aerosols on cloud layers forming at the same time. The synergies of lidar and radar observations will be exploited and refined to characterize the cloud-relevant microphysical properties of the aerosol (concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei and ice-nucleating particles) as well as the corresponding cloud microphysical properties such as size and number of the cloud particles. Eventually, the impact of the biogenic aerosol and the associated cloud layers on the radiation budget of the atmosphere will be simulated in order to estimate the footprint of the direct and indirect effects of biogenic aerosol on the climate system. For all of the foreseen methods, frameworks exist at TROPOS, which will be utilized and adapted by the candidate if necessary. Throughout the PhD project, the successful candidate will participate in regular measurements and field campaigns of the RSD team to contribute to the acquisition of novel observational data sets.


A Master's degree in Earth System Science, Physics or a related field is required for the successful completion of the PhD project. Ideally, the candidate will have experience in exploiting synergies between lidar and cloud radar observations, such as the ACTRIS Cloudnet scheme, the CAPTIVATE or DARDAR cloud property retrievals, or similar. Good programming skills, preferably in Python, and a strong motivation to continuously improve these skills are essential. Practical experience or a strong interest in field experiments is desirable. An open-minded working attitude will strongly promote the collaborative perspectives offered within the PhD network of the Leibniz ScienceCampus and the ACTRIS community.


The ideal starting date would be 1 October 2024, with a fixed term of 3 years.


We offer an exciting position with a varied activity in an interdisciplinary working environment and a variety of work and family measures as well as flexible working hours and daycare places. The employment is temporary and includes a part-time position with 30 hours / week (75% full-time equivalent). Remuneration is provided at TV-L pay group 13, including the attractive social benefits of the German public sector. In order to increase the proportion of female employees in scientific and science-related positions, we hereby specifically invite female candidates to apply. People with disabilities (“Schwerbehinderung” according to Book IX of the German Social Code) have priority in the hiring process if they have the same suitability, aptitude and professional qualifications.


If you are interested, please send your complete and informative application documents (including references and a letter motivating the candidate’s interest in the BioPICS project) by 31 July 2024 exclusively by e-mail in one coherent PDF document to:


application[at] ; subject: BioPICS



Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this job offer:

Dr. Patric Seifert, patric.seifert[at], +49(0)341-2717-7080


By submitting the application documents by e-mail, the applicant agrees to the storage/processing of personal data in accordance with Art. 13 DSGVO for the purpose of selection for this job advertisement. The risks of sending documents electronically are hereby pointed out.


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