Postdoc Position in Atmospheric Chemistry and Carbon Cycle Modeling

About the Project

Climate change is inextricably linked with perturbations to the carbon cycle brought on by emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane. Radiocarbon is unique in its potential to provide direct constraints on the magnitude and pace of carbon exchange between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and terrestrial ecosystems. Building on recent advances in radiocarbon measurements and the emergence of isotope-enabled carbon cycle and earth system models, Radiocarbon Inventories of Switzerland (RICH) is a first-of-its-kind project to use radiocarbon to constrain carbon cycle processes at a national level. RICH is a Swiss National Science Foundation-funded Sinergia Project. Our overall approach interweaves radiocarbon measurements of major carbon pools - the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere (PI: S. Szidat, University of Bern), the pedosphere (PI: F. Hagedorn, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, WSL), and the aquatic continuum (PI: T. Eglinton, ETH Zürich), with modeling activities (PI: H. Graven, Imperial College London, ICL) - to shed new light on the mechanisms and dynamics of regional-scale exchange between carbon reservoirs. This will be accomplished in a highly collaborative project framework involving the four research groups as well as further project partners. The research will leverage pre-existing field and laboratory infrastructures, extensive data and sample archives, together with novel analytical and modeling approaches.

Available Postdoc position (4 years) at the University of Bern

This position focuses on the measurement of radiocarbon in atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide in Switzerland, their spatial and temporal variabilities as well as the potential of radiocarbon for the quantification of methane sources. You will perform radiocarbon measurements of methane and carbon dioxide from air samples with accelerator mass spectrometry and interpret the data based on atmospheric transport simulations of biogenic and anthropogenic influences. The lab work will take place at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA) at the University of Bern. You will plan a monitoring program and further field campaigns at various sites and calculate the expected radiocarbon, carbon dioxide and methane signals at these sites using the Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model FLEXPART. The modeling work will be conducted during short stays at the Carbon Cycle Research group at Imperial College London and in collaboration with the Atmospheric Modelling and Remote Sensing group at Empa Dübendorf.


We are seeking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher. You have a PhD in chemistry, physics, earth or environmental sciences. You are an excellent scientist with creative ideas, fascinated to develop and apply analytical methods. You have both strong technical as well as modeling skills, an affinity for multidisciplinary cooperation and, ideally, prior experience in fieldwork. You are fluent in spoken and written English. A good level in German is a plus.

Entrance upon

1 October 2020 or later by mutual agreement


Please, send your application, which should include a motivation letter, a CV, a PDF file of your PhD thesis, an academic transcript of your studies and contact details for at least three academic references, to before 15 September 2020.

Contact address

Prof. Dr. Sönke Szidat
Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA)
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research
University of Bern
Freiestrasse 3
CH-3012 Bern

posted: 18 August 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.