Full-time position in the domain of regional climate modeling

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Deadline 29 April 2021


Organisation: University of Liège (ULiège) and the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI)

The Geography/SPHERES research unit of the University of Liège (ULiège) and the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) have a vacancy of a full-time position (100%) in the domain of regional climate modeling.

This position will consist of two joint appointments in the context of the FED-tWIN program of the Belgian Science Policy:

  • A 50% part time position at the RMI as SW2 - Workleader
  • A 50% part time position at the ULiège as postdoc researcher.

FED-tWIN is a federal science program of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) that aims to stimulate the collaboration between universities and Federal Scientific Institutes through the financing of joint research positions.

This successful candidate will fill the FED-tWIN position uLIege-Rmi EArth system modeling for Climate Services (LiREACS).

Short description of the FED-tWIN position (Prf-2020-047)

In order to address the increasing need to provide climate information to socio-economic stakeholders, climate services should be developed. The scientific development of such services relies largely on numerical models to perform future climate scenarios and to compute the ensuing climate-change impacts.

The LiREACS FED-tWIN Researcher will consolidate an existing collaboration between the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) and the Laboratory of Climatology from the University of Liège (ULiège) on model development, by building further on the past CORDEX.be project and by combining the expertise of both research groups to extend their regional climate models to become earth system models. To this end, the climate simulations over Belgium coming from the CORDEX.be models ALARO-0 from RMI and MAR from ULiège will be updated to make them consistent with the new future scenarios (CMIP6) made from the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR6) and the most recent ECMWF reanalysis (ERA5). Additionally, the FED-tWIN Researcher will continue the work on impact studies carried out both by the RMI and ULiège on the floodings, extreme precipitation, droughts, heat waves over Belgium, by notably coupling the RMI and ULiège regional climate models with the dynamical land-cover model CARAIB (developed at ULiège) and by using improved land cover dynamics and data. The ALARO-0 and MAR climate simulations will be then compared to the regional-model simulations over Europe within the international CORDEX project. This will allow to transfer some of the model uncertainties over Belgium to these two Belgian models based climate simulations and to provide new more robust future projections over Belgium using state-of-the art models, input data and scenarios.

The Institutions

The Laboratory of Climatology from the SPHERES research unit of the University of Liège (ULiège) has a strong expertise in regional climate models (RCMs) by developing the climate model MAR. In addition to study the melt of the polar ice sheets (where MAR has been internationally recognised as one of the best polar RCM) and climate change in Africa with MAR, we run MAR over Belgium at a resolution of 5 km in forecasting mode every day forced by GFS (10 days forecasts are available on http://climato.be/be), in hindcast mode forced by ERA5 (for studying for example the recent evolution of floods, snow cover, cloudiness or precipitation in Belgium) or for performing future projections using the CMIP5/CMIP6 based scenarios in the framework of the CORDEX(.be) exercise.

The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) is a reference in Belgium. Everyone knows the RMI for its weather forecasts but we do much more than that. The RMI is the national center for data and knowledge on weather and climate. The RMI totally focuses on his tasks of public duty. These tasks consist of providing general weather forecasts, to broadcast warnings for dangerous weather conditions, to keep an eye on our climate, to gather, validate and archive meteorological and geophysical data, to manage the necessary infrastructure due its activities, to develop numerical models and scientific research. The RMI runs 24 hours a day and combines infrastructure, technique, science and public duty. The products and services of the RMI follow higher quality standards.

The function
  • As a member of the scientific staff of the RMI and as a postdoc researcher of the ULiège you will carry out research in the domain of regional climate modeling.
  • You will help the RMI scientific staff to update the RMI climate scenarios with the ALARO-0 regional climate model over Belgium according to the outcomes of the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report.
  • You will be responsible for the further development of the ALARO-0 regional climate model by coupling to the advance surface scheme SURFEX and CARAIB.
  • You will perform hindcast studies over Belgium with the last version of the MAR regional model and, in a later stage develop and evaluate more recent versions of this model.
  • You will improve the CARAIB model by implementing new processes or through validation with various sets of data (including field data form forest or crops, as well as remote sensing data).
  • You will build an international network with the regional climate modelling community.
  • You will follow the activities on the climate-services stakeholders dialogue of the RMI and will identify opportunities to use the common RMI-ULiège models to provide tailored climate information.
  • You will be also called upon to supervise master and PhD theses using MAR and/or associated models (CARAIB, NEMO, ...) over Europe as well as to co-teach in the "regional climate modeling" course where the use of both MAR and CARAIB models is teached to the master students of ULiège.