PostDoc Position – Experimental Investigation of the Mountain Boundary Layer Structure

University of Innsbruck, Austria
Closing date: 1 May 2024

The University of Innsbruck, Department of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences (ACINN), is offering a position as PostDoc – Research Associate (f/m/d) – Experimental Investigation of the Mountain Boundary Layer Structure

The position is allocated with a minimum employment scope of 75% over 3 years. It can be extended both in level of employment (up to 100%) and/or duration (up to 4 years). The position is offered in the framework of the cooperation “IWCR – Innsbruck Network for Weather and Climate Research (IWCR)“ ( between GeoSphere Austria and the University of Innsbruck. Both, the University of Innsbruck and GeoSphere Austria play leading roles in the international research programme TEAMx ( ) – and the offered position is strongly tied to the TEAMx Observational Campaign (TOC), which will have an important component in the Inn Valley.

The Department of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences has a long history in – and still has a strong focus on – weather and climate in mountainous terrain. It offers a full curriculum (B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD) in Atmospheric Sciences as well as a joint M.Sc. program with the University of Trento in Environmental Meteorology. The successful candidate for this position will be embedded in the Atmospheric Dynamics research group at ACINN with long-standing experimental and numerical experience in meteorological processes in complex terrain, and (s)he will also contribute to student supervision and teaching on topics in the ACINN curricula. Close collaboration within the framework of IWCR is foreseen with experts from GeoSphere Austria from the observational (input) and numerical modeling (output) sections.

Short Description of the project
During the TOC (autumn 2024-autumn 2025) the successful candidate will be responsible for data acquisition of surface-based remote sensing instrumentation (lidar, passive microwave profiler) of ACINN and coordination with partner groups that contribute similar instrumentation. ‘Data Acquisition’ may range from defining and implementing lidar scan strategies on the one end to the development, testing and extension of a new and innovative retrieval algorithm for passive microwave profilers in complex terrain on the other side. This also includes contributing to the development of homogenized data formats for real-time data exchange with international partners as well as monitoring data streams during two extensive observation periods (2 x 6 weeks). Real-time data exchange is crucial for assimilating data into numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Remote sensing and other profile data are essential for understanding atmospheric exchange processes in complex terrain and the interaction between the turbulent boundary layer and meso-scale circulations.

In the second phase the data measured in the first part of this project will be combined with data from other platforms active during the TOC (e.g., surface-based turbulence information from the i-Box, airborne data) and numerical modeling output. Goal is the characterization of the 4-dimensional structure (3 spatial dimensions plus time) of the Mountain Boundary Layer (MoBL) under characteristic weather (flow) conditions. An important research question to be addressed is the definition of the MoBL height and the investigation of methods to determine it – which may be extensions of ‘traditional’ algorithms to mountainous terrain or new approaches based on the interaction of the turbulent part of the MoBL with meso-scale flows.

Qualifications, skills, and requirements

  • A PhD in meteorology, atmospheric science or a related field
  • experience in experimental methods for boundary layer meteorology, especially remote sensing
  • knowledge in mountain meteorology/climatology (complex terrain) advantageous
  • knowledge and experience in scientific programming
  • experience in project management and field activities
  • experience and/or interest in university level teaching
  • strong verbal and written communication skills are required (knowledge of German is a great advantage).

Independence, strong problem-solving skills, and an ability to work efficiently as part of a team are essential.

Salary is determined by the salary system of the University of Innsbruck and can be commensurate with professional qualifications and experience of the successful candidate. In addition, the rules of the Austrian employment law apply.

Length of contract
The position is offered for 3 years, starting at earliest convenience. There is potential for a prolongation.

How to apply
The opening is published at the university’s job portal (search for the identification GEO-14152).

You will have to submit your application material through this portal. The entry is open until May 1 2024.

In your application, please include a cover letter with a concise description of your research experience and objectives, your CV, and the names and contact information of potential referees.

The University of Innsbruck aims at increasing the proportion of women on its faculty, and therefore applications by qualified women are especially encouraged.

For further information, please contact: Mathias Rotach, mathias.rotach<at>