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Job advertisement PhD in The Atmospheric Chemistry of Volcanic Emission Plumes

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European Geosciences Union

PhD in The Atmospheric Chemistry of Volcanic Emission Plumes

PhD in The Atmospheric Chemistry of Volcanic Emission Plumes


University of Orléans / CNRS


Orléans and Paris, France


Relevant divisions
Atmospheric Sciences (AS)
Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology (GMPV)
Natural Hazards (NH)

Full time

Student / Graduate / Internship

Salary for 3 year PhD post according to French CNRS and University Guidelines

Preferred education

Application deadline
Open until the position is filled

27 April 2021

Job description

Fully-funded PhD Project

The Atmospheric Chemistry of Volcanic Emission Plumes

We seek a highly motivated PhD student to study the atmospheric chemistry processes that occur in a volcano plume, ranging from the hot crater emission-source to the dispersed downwind plume. The PhD project will involve a combination of analysis of observational datasets and numerical modelling, and includes opportunity to participate to field-work at an active volcano.
Candidates should be curious and motivated to undertake exploratory and quantitative studies in this novel interdisciplinary field of atmospheric chemistry combined with volcanology. The PhD project is fully funded (3 years salary) with start date Autumn 2021. Applicants should contact Dr Tjarda Roberts ( with CV and highlight their interest in the project before making a formal application.

Research Project
Volcanoes release vast quantities of gases and particles to the atmosphere, by explosive (ash-rich) and effusive (lava-flow) eruptions, and by continuous passive degassing. Volcanoes release sulfur (mostly as SO2 with some H2S) but also other gases, such as halogens (HBr, HCl), and mercury (Hg). This volcanic gas mixture is highly reactive once it enters the atmosphere. Chemical reactions in the volcanic plume causes the oxidation of sulfur gases to form sulfate particles, and multi-phase reactions involving volcanic halogens can cause the destruction of ozone. However, we still do not have a complete quantitative picture of all of the chemical and physical processes that occur in volcanic plumes. This is needed to quantify the impacts volcanic emissions have on the environment and society.
By analyzing observational datasets combined with numerical modeling of the plume processes, as well as participating to fieldwork to collect new data, the successful PhD applicant will further our understanding of atmospheric chemistry in a volcano plume. The PhD student will join a vibrant research group tracing the atmospheric processing of volcanic emission-plumes, from the hot crater to the downwind plume. To do this we have developed a range of methods, including: field-measurements using instruments that we deploy directly at the volcano, analysis of large datasets from aircraft and satellite and ground-based monitoring networks, and numerical models of the atmospheric chemistry processes in hot and cooled plumes.

Training given & Skills required
Our group is actively developing and publishing new models of plume processes, and collecting and analyzing observational datasets (e.g., Roberts et al. 2017, Guttman et al., 2018, Roberts et al., 2019, Surl et al. 2021). Through the project, the PhD will be trained in – and contribute new developments to – our existing modeling methods that range from simulating the high temperature reactions that happen within seconds inside the crater to low-temperature multi-phase chemical reactions in the dispersed plume that impact the atmosphere on regional scales. The candidate should have a master’s degree in a numerate science, ideally some research experience, and interests in atmospheric chemistry and volcano processes and the interdisciplinary link between them. She/he/they should enjoy to make exploratory analyses to identify patterns in observational datasets, and working on developing numerical models to help understand datasets, with skills in computer programming (and/or aptitude to learn all these things). A good level of English is needed, as well as the ability to write up research findings, resulting in scientific papers (training will be given).

Context, Funding and Location
The PhD is funded by Labex Voltaire (University of Orléans) that combines expertise of Orléans campus laboratories LPC2E (atmospheric science), ISTO (earth sciences) and ICARE (combustion science) and will involve close collaborations with IPSL atmospheric chemistry modelling groups in central Paris (LATMOS/LMD/ENS). The funding includes three years PhD salary as well as research costs. The PhD will also benefit from a vibrant network of earth science and atmospheric from the supervisor’s consortium project on Volcanic Halogens, and international links. The city of Orléans is located in the Loire Valley (a Unesco world heritage site, valued for its architectural heritage, chateaux and cultural-environmental landscape), an hour from central Paris where the IPSL laboratories are located close to the Seine, and Paris landmarks. Preferred start date is Autumn 2021.

Roberts T.J., Giudice G., Liuzzo M., Aiuppa A., Coltelli M., Vignelles D., Salerno G., Couté B., Chartier M., Baron, R. Saffell J. R., Scaillet B. (2017) Validation of a novel Multi-Gas sensor for volcanic HCl alongside H2S and SO2 at Mt Etna, Bulletin of Volcanology, 79, 36,
Gutmann A., Bobrowski N., Roberts T.J., Rudiger J., Hoffmann T., (2018), Advances in Bromine Speciation in Volcanic Plumes, Frontiers in Earth Science, 6, 213,
Roberts T.J., Dayma G., Oppenheimer C., (2019), Reaction rates control high-temperature chemistry of volcanic gases in air, Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 154,
Surl L., Roberts T.J., Bekki S., (2021), Observation and modelling of ozone-destructive halogen chemistryin a passive degassing volcanic plume,