Monday 26 February 2018

PhD Opportunity: Energetic Particle Precipitation on the Middle Atmosphere

Photo: Timo Rantala, SGO.
PhD Student Opportunity: “Effects of Energetic Particle Precipitation on the Middle Atmosphere

The University of Oulu in Northern Finland, with approximately 16,000 students and 3,000 employees, is an international, multidisciplinary research university with a rich pool of creative and intellectual talent. The strengths of the University include broad, multidisciplinary research interests, a modern research and study environment, and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes.

The Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) is a separate institute of the University of Oulu. Established in 1914, SGO carries out continuous, long-term geophysical measurements of Earth’s high-latitude environment. This activity is a National Task and includes measurements of Earth’s geomagnetic field, ionosphere, northern lights, cosmic radiation and seismic activity. SGO employs about 30 staff, two thirds of which have an academic degree. SGO scientists routinely collaborate with more than 100 institutes world-wide.

The PhD position is part of the project "Mesospheric Monitoring of Ozone above the Polar Vortex" (MeMO), which is a spearhead project funded by the university’s Kvantum Institute within the thematic focus area "Earth and near-space system and environmental change."

There is growing evidence that the energetic particle precipitation (EPP) originating from the Sun can significantly modulate the middle-atmospheric dynamics, and possibly alter the global atmospheric circulation via ionic production of minor species (such as odd hydrogen and odd nitrogen), thus causing subsequent ozone loss in the stratosphere.

The PhD project investigates both the EPP and the photoionisation taking place in the mesosphere-lower thermosphere (MLT) altitudes (mainly 60-100 km). For the EPP, the altitude of the maximum ionisation is a direct measure of precipitation energy. This energy-height dependence makes it possible to invert the EPP flux density spectrum from any height-dependent electron density measurement.

The project deploys a comprehensive set of ground-based (and rocket) electron density data obtained by various radio methods incl. incoherent scatter radars (EISCAT, and KAIRA ( as well as the detailed ion-neutral chemistry model (SIC).

The successful candidate will have a M.Sc. degree in physics, space physics, atmospheric physics or geophysics. Experience in data analysis using a high-level programming language (e.g. Python, Matlab) is highly beneficial. Excellent command of both spoken and written English is essential.

The PhD position is for 4 years from 1st May 2018 (unless agreed otherwise).  The salary will be based on the levels 2-4 of the demand level chart for university-level teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 46.3 % of the job-specific component). The salary is thus in practice roughly 2300€ – 3000€ per month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

Please, find the original job announcement here and fill in the application form at the end of it "Apply for the job". Deadline: 16th March 2018.

Contact: Dr Thomas Ulich, e-mail: thomas.ulich(at), tel.: +358405490403.

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