Ph. D. student position in Atmospheric Physics/Aeronomy

Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) in Kiruna


Ph. D. student position in Atmospheric Physics/Aeronomy
Atmospheric Physics Research Programme (AFP)

AFP invites applications for a research student position supported financially by the Graduate School in Space Technology for a period of up to 3 years. A further 1-2 years of funding will be sought from the national funding agencies. It is intended to lead to a Phil Lic (3 years) or Fil Dr (5 years).

The student will be a member of the Graduate School in Space Technology (situated in Kiruna) under the auspices of Luleň University of Technology and Umeň University.

Charged aerosols in the summer/winter mesosphere

Water vapour is one of the most important radiatively active gases affecting the temperature on our planet. Model studies have suggested that 25% of observed global warming at the surface may be due to an apparent 50% increase in water vapour in the middle atmosphere in the last 50 years. So far, the possible role of water vapour at mesospheric altitudes (40-90 km) in this is largely unclear as we know very little about mesospheric water vapour content. On the other hand, it is well-known that there are charged aerosol layers made of ice present at about 80-90 km altitudes in polar regions during summer time. They are visible as picturesque noctilucent clouds and as radar echoes termed Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE). Many observations of the potential aerosol layers have been obtained by means of ground-based instruments (e.g. radars and lidar) as well as in-situ measurements with rockets launched from Andoya, Norway and Esrange, Sweden. However, their nature is something of a mystery though we know rather much about them. Whatever the cause of aerosol layers, the presence of aerosol themselves could significantly affect heterogeneous chemistry of e.g. water (similar to the way the aerosols of polar stratospheric clouds affect e.g. ozone) and radiative properties of the middle atmosphere which in the end might contribute to global warming processes.

Moreover it is important also to take into account the presence of charged aerosol particles in middle atmosphere composition modelling. It has been shown that in the case of PMSE the aerosol particles can easily attach free electrons that lead to a sharp decrease of electron content at these altitudes which is observed by rocket as electron ôbite-outsö. It implies that the presence of particles at the polar mesopause strongly influences the ion-electron balance and hence ion chemistry at 80-90 km altitudes and must be modelled properly.

The project proposed here involves development of a self-consistent time-dependent model including the processes of aerosol particle charging. In practice, it will be based on an existing ion chemistry model developed by our collaborators at Polar Geophysical Institute, Murmansk, Russia, with extension for particles. The present model has already been used in several joint publications between IRF and PGI. The extended model will be applied to interpretation of observations from EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter) , the Esrad MST radar (Kiruna) and the MARA MST radar (Wasa, Antarctica). Observations of a variety of phenomena are involved, including PMSE and Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes (PMWE).

The project also involves active participation in PMSE/PMWE experiments in Kiruna, Troms° (Norway) and possibly Wasa (Antarctica).

Further information: Ass. Prof. Evgenia Belova, tel. 0980-79112, e-mail:
See also

Requirements: Applicants should have a university degree in physics (or a closely related subject such as meteorology or geophysics or radiophysics). IRF is engaged in international projects so a good knowledge of English is required. Modelling skills are desirable but not necessary.

Each applicant should supply
1. A short letter telling us why you are interested in this position.
2. Your CV.
3. Copies of your diplomas and grades.
4. Name and contact information for two referees (people who know your capabilities).
5. Other relevant certificates and documents, for example regarding previous employment.

We especially hope to attract female applicants. For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Sheila Kirkwood, tel. 0980-79083.

Closing date for applications: October 15, 2006

Application address:
Swedish Institute of Space Physics,
P. O. Box 812, SE-981 28 Kiruna,

Please quote Dnr 31-212/06

Telephone (secretary): + 46-980-79061
Fax (secretary): + 46-980-79050
Union representatives: Arne Mostr÷m (SACO), phone +46-980-79000,
Richard Kumpula (TCO-ST/ATF), phone +46-980-79055.

Last Application Date: 2006-10-15

Created 2006-08-23 16:54:46 by Rick McGregor
Last changed 2006-08-23 16:54:46 by Rick McGregor

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a governmental research institute which conducts research and postgraduate education in atmospheric physics, space physics and space technology. Measurements are made in the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and around other planets with the help of ground-based equipment (including radar), stratospheric balloons and satellites. IRF was established (as Kiruna Geophysical Observatory) in 1957 and its first satellite instrument was launched in 1968. The head office is in Kiruna (geographic coordinates 67.84░ N, 20.41░ E) and IRF also has offices in Umeň, Uppsala and Lund.