[Met-jobs] PhD and Postdoc Position in Atmospheric Science/Applied Statistics: Predictability of lightning in complex terrain

PhD and Postdoc Position: Predictability of lightning in complex terrain
University of Innsbruck, Austria: Institute of Meteorology and Department of Statistics

Summary: Three-year project for a PhD and Postdoc to explore how far into the future the predictability of thunderstorms and lightning over mountains extends. Embedded in a thriving larger research group working at the interface between atmospheric science and applied statistics.

We are looking for:

Candidates at the PhD or postdoc level: either from atmospheric sciences with a thorough statistical background or from applied statistics with good knowledge of flexible regression modeling (e.g., GAMs, path models, boosting, or Bayesian techniques) and interest in interdisciplinary work.

programming experience, preferably in R


Send a cover letter, resume/CV, and the names and contact details of two references to synstat@gmail.com. Review of applications will begin immediately but applications will be considered until at least 10 April 2015. References will not be contacted without prior notification of the candidates.


Severe convection can harm people and goods through accompanying lightning, gusts, hail and flooding. Reliable warning helps to reduce ensuing damage. While the small scale of convection limits predictability, persistent and recurring circulation patterns imposed by mountains might be able to extend predictability.

The main goal of the project is to determine how far into the future

summertime lightning can be predicted in the topographically complex eastern Alps. Lightning is chosen as proxy for severe convection since it is seamlessly observable in space and time with lightning detection networks. The project is part of a global effort to move from “warn-on-detection” of hazards from thunderstorms to “warn-on-forecast”. One wants to issue warnings before thunderstorms even form instead of when they are detected by radar.

Methodologically, advanced statistical methods will be used to formulate models that relate output from numerical weather prediction and meteorological observations to lightning measurements.

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