Research Associate in Planetary Atmospheric Science

University of Leicester

Postdoctorate Position Permanent Leicester, UK

Uploaded 5 Dec 2018

Job Description

You will join the planetary atmospheres team led by Dr. Leigh Fletcher to address the scientific aims of a European Research Council (ERC) grant to explore time-variable processes shaping the atmospheres of the giant planets.

The “GIANTCLIMES” programme seeks to investigate the natural cycles of meteorology, circulation, and chemical processes shaping the environments of the four giant planets over long spans of time. Inversions of planetary spectra, from the ultraviolet to the microwave, will be used to reconstruct these atmospheres in three dimensions to explore their temporal variability and the processes coupling different atmospheric regimes. Potential sub-projects include, but are not limited to: analysis of multi-instrument data from the Juno and Cassini spacecraft; assessments of the chemical distributions and radiative energy budgets of the four giants; numerical simulation of periodic and stochastic meteorological events (including wave phenomena); spectroscopic mapping techniques from Earth-based observatories; and assembly of data analysis pipelines to support “Guaranteed-Time” and “Early-Release” science activities ahead of the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

You will be expected to carry out independent and collaborative research for this project and disseminate the results to the international scientific community. There will be significant opportunities to collaborate within the Leicester’s Planetary Science team (whose existing research includes planetary magnetospheres, ionospheres, atmospheres and surface science), and with an international team specialising in radiative transfer and spectral inversion for planetary atmospheres.

Person Specification

You will have existing skills in planetary data analysis (e.g., acquisition and modelling of spectroscopic observations from the microwave to the ultraviolet) and/or numerical modelling expertise of relevance to giant planet atmospheres (dynamics, energetics, and/or chemistry of planetary atmospheres). We are therefore particularly interested in candidates with a background in planetary atmospheres and spectroscopic modelling techniques, but all applicants with a strong background in planetary science are encouraged to apply.

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