Ph.D. Position - University of Innsbruck, Austria

Announced 12.10.2019

Mid-Pleistocene Climate Change in Greenland: A Speleothem-Based Approach

Project Description

The Arctic is predicted to experience some of the greatest climate and environmental changes in the next centuries as a result of continued warming, the consequences of which will be felt worldwide, for instance through rising sea-levels or changes to Northern Hemisphere weather systems. Improving understanding of how the Arctic will develop in a warmer world is therefore of paramount importance, and one approach to achieve this is to look at periods of warmer climate in the recent geological past. Within the Arctic, Northeast Greenland is especially sensitive to climate change, however, there is a severe lack of knowledge on the climate history of this region, which is located far from the site of the deep ice cores and sparse in other high-quality climate records of long duration. The Greenland Caves Project thus seeks to address this fundamental knowledge gap by constructing records of past climate change from speleothems collected from caves in Northeast Greenland. In the current environment, the region containing the caves is arid and the ground is frozen, thus preventing deposition of speleothems. The presence of many speleothem deposits indicates that the region must have been warmer and wetter in the recent geological past. This project therefore aims to: (1) establish when in the recent geological past Greenland was warmer and wetter than today as well as the nature of the climate during those intervals; and (2) establish seasonal climate changes during past warm intervals.

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD-student position in Quaternary Palaeoclimate at the Institute of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Austria on the subject "Mid-Pleistocene Climate Change in Greenland: A Speleothem-Based Approach". The position will be embedded within the Doctoral Programme, Mountain Climate and Environment, as well as the Quaternary Research Group, which specialises in speleothem-based reconstructions of palaeoclimate. Tasks will include: geochemical laboratory work (in-house and abroad in the USA and Germany); independent research; completion of a dissertation; publishing; and administrative tasks.


The project is funded by an Austrian Science Foundation (FWF) Start grant. The monthly gross salary is Euro 2,162.40.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will hold a Master’s degree in Geology, Physical Geography, Earth Science, Environmental Science or a related field. Previous experience working with palaeoclimate, speleothems, and/or U-Th dating will be an advantage. Applicants should have a good knowledge of written and spoken English, and should be willing to travel for extended periods of time for laboratory work and conferences. The successful candidate will have the ability to work independently and in a team, solve problems, communicate effectively, and have an interdisciplinary interest.


Further information can be obtained from Prof. Gina Moseley. Applications should be sent by e-mail to gina.moseley[-@-] Please include in a single pdf document: (1) a letter of motivation that also addresses the requirements listed in the person specification; (2) a curriculum vitae, and; (3) contact details for two referees (note that referees will only be contacted if the candidate is short-listed). Applications will be considered until 12th November, 2019.

Start Date

Early 2020 (exact date is flexible)

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