PhD position

at the IVM Department of Water and Climate Risk – The Netherlands.

Research project: ‘Large Scale Hurricane modelling and flood risk under climate change’


The PhD position will be funded by the new NWO Vici program on global flood risk assessment. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with KNMI and Deltares.

Contents of the research
Economic losses due to weather related natural hazards continue to rise rapidly in all regions of the world. For example, extreme flood events and storm surges all have a significant impact on society, and these impacts will increase in the future through climate change and socio-economic developments. Extreme storm surges and coastal floods are often caused by strong wind-fields driven by tropical storms such as hurricanes. A major research question is whether the frequency magnitude and impact of these systems will increase under the influence of climate change and the warming of ocean temperatures. Sea level rise will further increase the probability and potential impact of flooding. In addition, there is a growing understanding that increasing exposure of people and economic assets has been a major cause of the long term increases in economic losses from extreme coastal flooding, and another relating question is what future impacts (economic damage, fatalities) hurricanes will have in a future.

This research will focus on coastal floods, and includes 3 activities:
(1) In the first part of the research, the candidate will use an existing high resolution climate model (E.g. EC Earth) to simulate the presence of hurricane in a current and future climate. We probably first will focus on a specific part of the globe, e.g. North America.
(2) In a second part, research will assess and further process the modelling runs produced by the PRIMAVERA project. In this project, ensemble runs of high resolution climate models have been simulating climate conditions in simulations over the period 1950-2050. The PhD candidate will for example assess the increase in frequency and magnitude of global hurricanes.
(3) the candidate will apply both the EC Earth run for North America and the PRIMAVERA runs to an existing global flood risk simulation model for coastal floods (GTSM) to model historic – and future flood events in different parts of the globe. In addition, we will calculate the damage resulting from those hurricanes for all global coastal areas.

The candidate must have a Masters degree in Earth sciences, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Climate modeling, or related fields. The preferred candidate will have knowledge of statistical methods, quantitative data-assessment, programming (Python/Matlab) and simulation models. The position involves collaboration and communication in a larger research team of researchers from other disciplines involved in international research projects.

Further particulars
The appointment will be fulltime for an initial duration of 12 months. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
• remuneration of 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance
• solid pension scheme (ABP);
• a minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• possibilities to save up holidays for sabbatical leave;
• generous contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
• discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);
• participation in Individual Choices model;
• ‘t Olifantje provides professional childcare on the VU campus;
• a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts from
€ 2174,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2779,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85 ) based on a full-time employment.

For additional information please contact:
Prof. dr. J. (Jeroen) Aerts : prof. dr. B. (Bart) van den Hurk

Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by their curriculum vitae, list of grades, copies of relevant research papers and/or theses and two letters of recommendation. Applications should be sent by e-mail before April 28th 2016 to
Ms Marjolijn Staarink: