The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

PhD Position (m/f/d) in Physical Oceanography


The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been retreating dramatically under global warming. In the Eurasian part of the Arctic Ocean, there is evidence that vertical stratification in the upper ocean has weakened substantially in recent years, such that the upward heat flux from the subsurface Atlantic Water layer may have contributed strongly to the decline in sea ice. This scenario has been referred to as "new Arctic" regime. In the perennially ice-covered central Arctic Ocean, instead, the halocline is thought to still prevent strong upward heat fluxes year-round. However, wintertime measurements hardly exist in leads within the central Arctic Ocean, where sea-to-air heat fluxes may be strongly enhanced. Therefore, the feedbacks between upward heat fluxes from the halocline across the mixed layer toward the sea ice and small-scale horizontal processes are not well understood.


  • establish how horizontal ocean processes in both regions modify the heat exchange between the stratified upper ocean, the mixed layer and the atmosphere / sea ice during events like opening of leads, passing storms, sea ice melt, passing oceanic eddies or the decay of fronts in the upper ocean
  • receive an intense training in advanced techniques of data analysis,
  • be able to join a research expedition to Fram Strait in summer 2020 to obtain a hands-on experience


  • M.Sc. degree in physical oceanography, environmental physics, climate physics, or related fields.
  • An excellent background in fluid dynamics
  • good programming skills (preferably in Matlab)
  • very good command of English in writing and speaking (corresponding to level B2/C1)
  • be willing to interact with an interdisciplinary science community.
  • expectation to participate in scientific, polar expeditions.

Further Information

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Torsten Kanzow (; +49(471)4831-2913)

The position is limited to 3 years pending final approval of funding and will start in early 2020. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%).

The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

This characterizes us

  • our scientific success - excellent research.
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary.
  • opportunities to develop - on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI.
  • a culture of reconciling work and family - audited, and even more than that.
  • our outstanding research infrastructure - ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more.
  • an international environment - everyday contacts with people from all over the world.
  • having an influence - fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies - freedom and responsibility.
  • exciting topics - also in technology, administration and infrastructure.

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy and we encourage women to apply. As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research 'POLMAR' ( or another graduate school.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate "Career and Family".

We look forward to your application!

Please forward your application by December 5th, 2019 exclusively online.

Reference number 19/138/D/Kli-b

posted: 21 November 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.