Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

PhD position "High-resolution sea-level projections"

The Royal NIOZ is looking for a highly-motivated PhD candidate to model climate-driven sea-level change on a high spatial resolution.

VACANCY ID: 2017-069
CLOSING DATE: September 15th , 2017


The department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS, Royal NIOZ-Yerseke) aims to understand how the interplay between benthic organisms, water flow, and sedimentation shapes the physical environment as well as the habitats that can support diverse natural communities. Central to our department is a multidisciplinary approach that combines state-of-art biophysical measurements, remote sensing, and manipulative experiments with mathematical and numerical modelling to create in-depth understanding of the processes that form estuarine, delta and coastal systems. The sea-level group, in which the candidate will work, focuses on the link between the climate-driven sea-level change in the open ocean and how this translates to the coastal, delta and estuarine environment.


Projections of sea-level change could so far only be provided on relatively coarse grids of 1x1 degree, or 100x100 km. This means that the Dutch coast is represented in 3 grid points, which does not suffice for the application of sea-level change projections close to the coast or within estuaries and shallow seas (e.g. the Wadden Sea), as they occur at much smaller spatial scales. The goal of this PhD project is to model and analyse sea-level rise (SLR) projections on a higher spatial resolution in order to bridge the gap between open ocean sea-level projections and sea-level change in the coastal zone.

In this largely model-based project, we will focus on the European Shelf area and analyse high-resolution modelling experiments of the ocean dynamical contribution. These analyses will be performed in collaboration with the Met Office in the UK. If required, additional runs with a European Shelf Sea model could be done to target specific research questions. Using the model results, the candidate will look at the differences between coarse-resolution and high-resolution models, and investigate how open ocean signals progress onto the shelf of the North Sea basin. The candidate will also explore possibilities to use results from coarse resolution models for smaller spatial scales.

In the second part of the project, we will zoom in from the European shelf towards the coastal zone. We will study SLR and SLR impacts in the coastal region, with a strong focus on temporal and spatial variability in SLR. In this part of the project, the candidate will increasingly work across disciplines and link with other researchers in the institute. Possible research topics are: determining which processes need to be included for a good representation of SLR at smaller spatial scales, what is the impact of SLR on coastal flooding risk & the occurrence of extremes, or what is the effect/ interaction between SLR and ecological systems.


Potential candidates are expected to have a university degree (MSc) in oceanography, marine sciences, meteorology, physical geography, earth sciences or a related area. A strong background in numerical modelling and knowledge about climate change (processes) would be advantageous. Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English.

The successful candidate will focus on analyzing model data of climate-driven sea-level change on a high spatial resolution, and is therefore expected to work with and analyse large quantities of data.

The candidate will be hosted by the department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS) at the Royal NIOZ in Yerseke. The candidate is expected to spend parts of the 4-year period at the UK Met Office in Exeter as an integral part of the project.


We offer you a fulltime position for 4 years, a pension scheme, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Our labour policies are based on the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement of Research Centers. Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by the Royal NIOZ.

Additional information about this vacancy: Dr. Aimée Slangen, tenure track scientist. For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek, senior HR advisor.

Interviews with pre-selected candidates will take place in Yerseke or online (e.g., by Skype).

Please note: job interviews are foreseen in the second half of September, 2017

posted: 11 August 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.