PhD student in Climate, Ecohydrology and Meteorology

Last application date
May 31, 2019 16:53
LA20 - Department of Environment
Bepaalde tijd
MSc in the domains of Physics, Environmental Sciences, Engineering or Computer Sciences.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Meteorological droughts are prolonged periods of precipitation shortage that lead to agricultural loss, tree mortality, air pollution and water scarcity. There is a perception that droughts are becoming unusually frequent and severe. This exacerbation and proliferation counts amongst the most serious impacts of future cli-mate change on society. Yet, the understanding of how droughts start and evolve remains limited. Persistent atmospheric circulation anomalies seem a necessary ingredient, but positive land feedbacks have been suggested as being critical for their evolution: as soil and vegetation dry out and evapo-ration from land declines, the air becomes even drier, thus the likelihood of rainfall further decreases. Moreover, this does not only affect the local likelihood of rainfall, but also the likelihood of rainfall downwind. We hypothe-size that droughts may self-intensify and self-propagate via land feedbacks. A better understanding of these processes could improve forecasts, climate projections and societal adaptation.

This work is framed within the context of the ERC Starting grant project DRY–2–DRY (, 'Do droughts self-propagate and self-intensify?'.

Profile of the candidate

  •  Background on Hydrology and Meteorology needed.
  •  Knowledge of numerical modelling and computer programming (preferably Matlab or Python).
  •  Excellent level of English, both oral and written.
  •  Creative, critical and analytical mindset; capable of working in groups.
  •  Candidates from outside Belgium are welcome and are expected to move to Belgium.
  •  Opportunity to spend prolonged stages in other leading international institutes.
  •  Expected attendance to multiple international conferences and workshops.
  •  Opportunity to joining a young and motivating research environment.
  •  Wages in accordance with Ghent University indexes.

How to apply

  •  Please send a 1-paragraph motivation letter and professional CV in a single pdf to
  •  Include contact information of two people that may be requested to send a reference if the application is shortlisted.
  •  Candidacies will be evaluated by an internal committee at the University.
  •  The position will remain open until the right candidate is found.