PhD position in Permafrost Science University of Victoria

Website University of Victoria

School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

PhD position: Process-based numerical modelling of permafrost systems

Expected start date: September 2020, possibly May 2020. See

Supervisory team: Dr. Joe Melton (UVic/ECCC), Dr. Bernhard Rabus (SFU), Dr. Chris Spence(ECCC), Dr. Colin Goldblatt (UVic)

Project description:
Incorporation of excess ground ice and its impacts into the Canadian Land Surface Scheme including Biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC) model.

Permafrost regions are rapidly warming due to anthropogenic climate change. Process-based modellingoffers the ability to project how that warming will impact the region’s physical and biogeochemical environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) develops and applies the Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM). This position will develop the capabilities of CLASSIC, the terrestrial component of CanESM, to simulate permafrost region processes. The lack of a representation of excess ground ice and its melt is a significant gap in many permafrost models. While excess ground ice has been incorporated into some models, the representation remains crude and poorly evaluated. This position, as part of PermafrostNet (, will parameterize CLASSIC using site-level data, collaboratively develop a dataset of excess ground ice, and determine the most valuable model outputs from future scenarios for use in hazard assessment. The parameterizations developed through this project will be incorporated in future versions of CanESM informing global efforts around climate change impacts such as the IPCC assessments.

Interested applicants should have an M.Sc. in physics, geography, environmental science, earth science, or related field, ideally possessing previous experience with numerical modelling and coding. Especially strong applicants possessing only a B.Sc. will be considered. Applicants must be self-motivated, have strong communication skills, and be well organized.

The University of Victoria and PermafrostNet are strongly committed to fostering diversity as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to further diversification including, but not limited to, women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expressions.

Work team and work environment: This research project is part of PermafrostNet, a multi-sectorial research network of twelve Canadian universities and more than 40 partner organizations. As a member of the network, the successful applicant will collaborate with a set of expert research groups inside and outside of University of Victoria, via the network and the members of the supervisory team. It will be located on the UVic campus in Victoria with the student regularly visiting the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (, also on UVic campus.

Funding: Fully funded with additional support for research and conference travel available for the duration of the project.

To submit an application: Send Dr. Joe Melton ( your letter of interest, CV, a writing sample, copy of transcript(s), and contact information for 3 references. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. To ensure full consideration applications should be received prior to January 10th, 2020. We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

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