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European Geosciences Union

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Postdoctoral Research Scientist


Columbia University


New York, NY, United States


Full time

Entry level


Required education

Application deadline
14 April 2019

1 March 2019

Job description

The Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University is accepting applications for a post-doctoral researcher in Earth system modeling of volcanic eruptions in historical times. This a 1-year appointment starting as early as September 2019, with the possibility of extension for up to a total of 3 years contingent upon performance. The project examines the link between explosive volcanic eruptions and the annual Nile river summer flooding in antiquity. Large volcanic eruptions can reduce average global temperatures and suppress average global precipitation. This has had dramatic effects on annual rainfall on the Nile watershed in historical times. The human response to this annual flooding, and to its variability over the years, was the major driver of Egyptian history up to the completion of the high dam at Aswan in 1970.

A collaboration between historians, climate scientists, and statisticians, this project seeks to understand the coupling between the hydrological cycle and human society in Egypt during the Hellenistic era (305 BCE – 30 BCE), a well-documented period of economic, technological, and social change with often violent rivalries between major regional powers. The results will also inform our understanding of best-practice responses to the changing climate in the modern world. The project will inform the broad public about human and natural systems and the complex interactions between them at diverse scales, through a traveling exhibition program developed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. More information is available on the project’s website at

The primary duties will include the application and evaluation of the NASA GISS ModelE Earth system model over the period of interest to the project, and the study of volcanic eruptions that perturbed precipitation and flooding of the Nile, as a key driver of crop yields or failure. The model application will focus on volcanic injections, aerosol formation and microphysics, aerosol-cloud-precipitation-climate feedbacks, and comparison with historical records.