PhD student physics, meteorology, atmospheric sciences or similar (f/m/x)


PhD position in atmospheric sciences

Enter the fascinating world of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and help shape the future through research and innovation! We offer an exciting and inspiring working environment driven by the expertise and curiosity of our 11,000 employees from 100 nations and our unique infrastructure. Together, we develop sustainable technologies and thus contribute to finding solutions to global challenges. Would you like to join us in addressing this major future challenge? Then this is your place!

The Department of Cloud Physics at our Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Oberpfaffenhofen invites applications for a

PhD student physics, meteorology, atmospheric sciences or similar (f/m/x)

PhD project - Characterization of aerosol properties and aerosol-cloud interaction over the pristine Southern Ocean

What to expect:

The Southern Ocean is a particularly cloudy region on earth and exhibits the strongest biases in near-surface temperatures simulated by current global climate models. In the framework of a collaborative research project using the High-Altitude-Long-Range research aircraft (HALO) we will measure the aerosol and cloud microphysical properties over the Southern Ocean in southern hemisphere spring.  The objective is to investigate liquid cloud formation and ice nucleation and to relate the southern mid-latitude aerosol and cloud properties in one of the most pristine environments on earth to previous observations in more polluted northern mid-latitudes. 

The PhD project will focus to study aerosol properties over the Southern Ocean by performing airborne in-situ aerosol measurements during the HALO-South airborne measurement campaign in August and September 2025 based in New Zealand. The parameters to be measured include particle concentrations and size distributions, black carbon mass and optical aerosol properties. Leading up to the campaign partially new instrumentation for aerosol measurements will be characterized in lab experiments, together with a thorough calibration of existing systems. The data gathered during the campaign will be put in context with other measurements in the Southern Ocean but also at other, more polluted, regions worldwide. In combination with extensive cloud particle measurements obtained in this campaign studies of aerosol-cloud interactions will be performed.


  • Preparation, characterization and calibration of aerosol instrumentation in lab experiments
  • Operating the aerosol instruments on HALO during the HALO-South field experiment in New Zealand in 2025 and providing a preliminary data analysis after each flight to ensure high data quality  
  • Investigate aerosol properties over the Southern Ocean based on a final data set obtained from the HALO-South field experiment. Comparison to other data sets in different seasons in northern mid- latitudes.
  • Investigate aerosol-cloud interaction in pristine shallow clouds over the Southern Ocean in close collaboration with other investigators within the HALO-South consortium
  • Provide a consolidated data set on measured aerosol to be used for evaluation and support of global climate models
  • Publish and present results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and at international conferences

What we expect from you:

The position requires an enthusiastic, self-motivated and creative student interested in atmospheric physics with a master or equivalent degree in physics, meteorology, atmospheric sciences or related.


The successful candidate must have:

  • The affinity for experimental work and a strong interest in scientific data analysis
  • Initiative in finding solutions for scientific problems
  • An excellent standard of oral and written English
  • Excellent analytical skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Good programming skills, ideally in Python, Julia or Igor
  • Ability and willingness to perform lab measurements for instrument characterization
  • Ability and willingness to operate measurement equipment during long mission flights on small research aircraft
  • Ability and willingness for international travel for an extended period of time
  • Basic knowledge of aerosol physics and measurement techniques is a plus

What we offer:

DLR stands for diversity, appreciation and equality for all people. We promote independent work and the individual development of our employees both personally and professionally. To this end, we offer numerous training and development opportunities. Equal opportunities are of particular importance to us, which is why we want to increase the proportion of women in science and management in particular. Applicants with severe disabilities will be given preference if they are qualified.

Further information:

Starting date: immediately

Duration of contract: 3 years 

Type of employment: Full-time

Remuneration: German TVöD E13 (75%)

Vacancy-ID: 94851


Dr. Daniel Sauer Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre 

Tel.: 08153 28-3390

DLR - Helmholtz / Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt

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Deadline: 2024-08-18
Location: Germany, Oberpfaffenhofen, Bayern
Categories: atmospheric physics, Atmospheric Science, Data analysis, Meteorology, PhD, Physics,


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