Historically, the global ocean has played a critical role in mitigating global climate change by taking up most of the excess heat and about 30% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. The greatest part of this process occurred through the renewal of subsurface waters in the Southern Ocean. However, global climate models still fail to represent the region’s past climatic changes, leading to significant uncertainties in future projections. The EU-funded VERTEXSO project will study vertical transport processes in observations and model simulations, with a particular focus on convective plumes. VERTEXSO will improve the representation of vertical transport processes in models, assess their impact on vertical heat and carbon exchange, and develop innovative methods to monitor them. This ERC-Starting Grant project is a joint initiative between the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) funded through the Horizon Europe program (further information).


As part of the VERTEXSO project, you will investigate the spatial and temporal scales of convectively sinking plumes in the high-latitude Southern Ocean and assess their role in the vertical exchange of mass and tracers. You will have the opportunity to

  • use a high-resolution ocean model to investigate vertical exchange processes and their scales in the Southern Ocean,
  • analyze the sensitivity of vertical exchange processes to changing surface conditions,
  • study the impact of these processes on heat, salt, and carbon fluxes in the water column,
  • make the first realistic simulations of the Southern Ocean with a non-hydrostatic ocean model (a model that can explicitly resolve vertical motion) on a larger scale.


  • A Master’s degree in Earth, geo-, climate, or environmental sciences or a related field
  • A keen interest and basic knowledge in oceanography
  • Some background in geophysical fluid dynamics is advantageous, but not essential
  • Good programming skills (for example Fortran, Python, Matlab, etc.)
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Training or experience with numerical modeling is advantageous, but not essential


  • The chance to be part of a dynamic team working at the frontier of Earth system science
  • Flexible working hours
  • An international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • Career development through the LMU and AWI qualification program
  • Participation in a structured PhD program offered by the graduate school POLMAR, including a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures
  • LMU fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways
  • Opportunity to attend national and international workshops and conferences
  • A stimulating working environment at one of Germany’s top-ranked universities
  • At an institute located in the center of Munich with excellent public transport links, and in a vibrant and internationally diverse city
  • A close collaboration, frequent visits, and guest contract at AWI, a world-leading German research institution for polar and marine sciences

About us

The teaching and research section for Physical Geography and Earth System Interactions at LMU’s Department of Geography primarily investigates the impact of humans on the Earth System, changing land and ocean surfaces, the interaction of these surfaces with the atmosphere, and changes in the regional and global energy, water, and carbon cycle. Our section develops and applies the latest generation of Earth system and process models and integrates them with observations. Key research areas include physical, biogeochemical, and ecosystem processes on land, in the ocean and cryosphere, and in the atmosphere, as well as feedbacks within this Earth system.

Further information

This is position limited to 3 years and will start in February or March 2024. The salary will be paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federate States (Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst der Länder, TV-L) up to salary level 13 (75%). The place of employment will be Munich.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Alexander Haumann

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. We encourage female candidates to apply.

Handicapped persons with comparable qualifications receive preferential status.

We look forward to your application! Please send your application (including cover letter, curriculum vitae, copies of scientific degrees, and names and contact information of two references) by e-mail (one PDF-attachment with max. 5MB only including all documents) with subject “VERTEXSO-2023Geo” to by December 1, 2023.