PhD position: Constraining historical and future estimates of land cover and land management effects on climate

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Organisation: ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission are inviting applications for PhD positions through the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme. The CDP scheme intends to enhance the science-policy link through strategic collaborations with higher education institutions characterized by research excellence and international reputation, in order to:

  • Train a new generation of doctoral graduates in science and technology with a focus on the science-policy interface, able to understand the research needs at different stages of the policy cycle, capable of providing scientific support to policy and of using transferable skills in science communication and knowledge management.
  • Co-develop, co-host and co-supervise doctoral studies between higher education institutions and the JRC.
  • Strengthen collaboration between the JRC and higher education institutions by promoting mutual enhancement of related skills and competences, combining existing knowledge and capacities, and enhancing networking in key scientific areas.

Job description

Within the CDP framework ETH Zurich is looking for a PhD candidate for the project: “Constraining historical and future estimates of land cover and land management effects on climate”. They offer:

  • Three-year PhD position in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.
  • The PhD research will be realized at ETH Zurich, Switzerland (approx. 1 year) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy (approx. 2 years).
  • They offer a competitive fellowship. While at the JRC in Ispra, you will get a contract as a Grant Holder 20.
  • Enrolment in the PhD programme Science and Policy at ETH Zurich hosted by the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center.

Land use and land cover change (LULCC) is one of the major global environmental perturbations brought about by human activities, but there is still a lack of consensus regarding its climate impacts at various scales. New observational datasets of surface climate’s sensitivity to LULCC offer an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate climate model results and reduce their associated uncertainties. The PhD work will combine climate model simulations with observation-based products with the aim of constraining historical and future estimates of land cover/management effects on climate, with a focus on biogeophysical processes, in particular water exchanges. The newly available simulations of the Land Use Model Intercomparison Project (LUMIP)/Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), the basis for the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, will be evaluated using remote sensing products, FLUXNET and other available observations. In addition to the analysis of LUMIP/CMIP6 simulations, the Community Land Model, an advanced land surface model used in LUMIP/CMIP6, will also be used to test specific hypotheses and explore the option space for future sustainable land management.