Post-doc opportunity – Delft University of Technology

Post-doc: Eddies & Sinking of Ocean Waters

Department/faculty: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: PhD degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 2.5 years
Salary: €3193 to €3427 per month gross

Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of the departments of Transport and Planning, Structural Engineering, Geoscience and Engineering, Water Management, Hydraulic Engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

The Department of Hydraulic Engineering is mainly concerned with major surface waters such as rivers, estuaries, and seas. The focus is on understanding, designing, and implementing human interventions in the natural environment for the discharge of water, for protection against water, and for transport over water. Within the department, the Environmental Fluid Mechanics section focuses on the physical and mathematical aspects of free-surface water motion and directly contributes to the work of sections in the department.

The Environmental Fluid Mechanics section is concerned with the fundamental fluid-mechanical aspects of processes in rivers, estuaries, coastal zones, and oceans. The following research themes can be distinguished: wave dynamics, physical oceanography, shallow environmental flows and turbulence, and numerical fluid mechanics. Field observations, laboratory experiments, and numerical modelling are considered key ingredients of successful research with relevance for practical applications. How the circulation near coasts and in the deep ocean interact is an important sub-theme within the section.

Job description

This post-doc position is one of four positions available within this NWO-funded VIDI project. It involves fundamental research on deep ocean convection and sinking of dense waters in the North Atlantic Ocean, focusing on the role of ocean eddies for these processes. The research will be carried out in close collaboration with among others Utrecht University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) and University of Bergen (Norway).

At the margins of the North Atlantic (in the Labrador, Irminger, and Nordic Seas), surface waters cool, mix vertically with waters below, sink, and return southward at depth. This Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is of paramount importance for climate. Models predict that it slackens as climate warms, with considerable consequences. However, the impact of ocean eddies – recently found to be crucial for the sinking of dense waters – is still lacking in this picture. This project aims to quantify the role of eddies for the response of the AMOC to high-latitude climate change, covering all relevant spatial scales.

The post-doc will analyse the role of eddies based on pairs of eddy-resolving and non-eddy resolving global-scale ocean simulations. Lagrangian and other techniques are applied to identify where dense waters sink and spread through the deep oceans, and how changes in surface conditions impact this.


We are looking for an enthusiastic post-doc with a strong background in physical oceanography and/or (environmental) fluid mechanics, and excellent numerical modelling skills. You have a PhD in physical oceanography, civil engineering, physics, mathematics, or a related subject. You have experience with numerical simulations and handling and analysing large data sets, and have begun building a publication record. You are able to work in a multidisciplinary team including oceanographers, civil engineers, and mathematicians, and have good written and oral communication skills in English. The preferred start date for this position is May – June 2017.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers day care, before- and after-school care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Caroline Katsman, phone: +31 (0)15-2783380, e-mail: To apply, please send:
(1) a letter in which you explain your interest in this position (max 1 page),
(2) a detailed Curriculum Vitae which includes your educational record, list of publications, industrial experience (if any), the names of three persons who may be contacted for a reference, and any other information you judge as relevant for this application. Please e-mail your application by 20 March 2017 to:
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG16-59.

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