Postdoctoral Research Scientist

New York City, New York (US)
March 06 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

The Center for Climate Systems Research in the Earth Institute at Columbia University is accepting applications for a post-doctoral researcher in Earth system modeling of volcanic eruptions in historical times. This is a 1-year position starting as early as September 2019, with the possibility of extension for up to a total of 3 years contingent upon performance. The project examines the link between explosive volcanic eruptions and the annual Nile river summer flooding in antiquity. Large volcanic eruptions can reduce average global temperatures and suppress average global precipitation. This has had dramatic effects on annual rainfall on the Nile watershed in historic times. The human response to this annual flooding, and to its variability over the years, was the major driver of Egyptian history up to the completion of the high dam at Aswan in 1970.

A collaboration among historians, climate scientists, and statisticians, this project seeks to understand the coupling between the hydrological cycle and human society in Egypt during the Hellenistic era (305 BCE - 30 BCE), a well-documented period of economic, technological and social change with often violent rivalries between major regional powers. The results will also inform our understanding of best-practice responses to the changing climate in the modern world. The project will inform the broad public about human and natural systems and the complex interactions between them at diverse scales, through a traveling exhibition program developed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. More information are available in the project’s website at

The primary duties will include the application and evaluation of the NASA GISS ModelE Earth system model over the period of interest to the project, and the study of volcanic eruptions that perturbed precipitation and flooding of the Nile, as a key driver of crop yields or failure. The model application will focus on volcanic injections, aerosol formation and microphysics, aerosol-cloud-precipitation-climate feedbacks, and comparison with historical records.

Minimum degree required: PhD

Minimum qualifications: The successful candidate will have a PhD in atmospheric sciences, environmental or chemical engineering, physics, or closely related field, with a strong interdisciplinary background in atmospheric chemistry, aerosol microphysics, and global climate modeling. Strong programming skills are an essential requirement.  Knowledge of additional programming skills such as IDL, Matlab, python, or similar, are also required.

Preferred qualifications: Past global or regional modeling experience will be an important factor for selection between the candidates, as well as knowledge of the FORTRAN programming language. Knowledge of additional programming skills like IDL, Matlab, python, or similar, are also required, while knowledge of the NetCDF file format will be of benefit to the candidate.

Appointment will be for 1 year, with continuation contingent upon performance.

Search will remain open for at least 30 days after the ad appears and will continue until the position is filled.  To apply please go to:

Columbia University benefits offered with this Officer of Research appointment.

We accept online applications only

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.