INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "Solar influences on climate via the stratospheric pathway"

  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas   Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía   Excelencia Severo Ochoa   HR Excellence in Research
February, 4th 2021
(1) Towards the understanding of the planetary systems

Together with volcanic activity, solar variability is an important source of naturally forced variability of the Earth's climate. There is growing evidence that this influence is not restricted to the variable solar energy input at surface level but other aspects of solar variability could also affect climate via modulations of the stratospheric ozone layer. These are solar ultraviolet irradiance variations and energetic particle precipitation, recently included as input to climate model simulations in support of upcoming assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Ongoing research is focused around the following key questions:
• What is the observed fingerprint of solar ultraviolet irradiance variability and energetic particle precipitation in atmospheric composition and dynamical parameters?
• What are the mechanisms for solar signal transfer from the stratosphere to the surface?
• How much do radiative and particle solar forcings change with time from daily to secular timescales?
• What are the requisites for climate models to accurately describe solar forcing impacts?
The Terrestrial-Planetary atmosphere group (GAPT) at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC, Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, has a long recognized trajectory in this field, which is reflected in the leadership role in international projects such as SOLARIS-HEPPA of SPARC. To answer these questions, we analyze satellite observations of atmospheric composition and temperature, as well as climate model simulations of different complexity. Coordinated model experiments and model validation studies with help of observational data are thereby of particular importance.


The successful candidate will analyse available satellite observations of stratospheric and mesospheric composition to quantify observed chemical impacts of ultraviolet irradiance and energetic particle precipitation variability. The obtained results will be used to assess the representation of involved chemical processes in chemistry climate models, allowing for the identification of model biases and potential model improvements. The candidate will further explore new statistical analysis methods that account for non-linear interactions of solar and internally introduced climate variability. These advanced methods will be applied to multi-decadal climate model simulations in order to quantify the effect of solar signals on climate variables and to assess how the changing atmosphere due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions modulates the climate response to solar forcing.
The Ph.D. fellow will benefit from the long research and training experience of the Terrestrial Planetary Atmosphere's Group GAPT group, as well as from the group's extended network of international collaborators, particularly within the SPARC SOLARIS-HEPPA community. She/he will participate in international conferences and training networks with the possibility of short-term visits at recognized international research institutions. It is foreseen that fellow will participate in the Physics and Space Science Ph.D. program at University of Granada. A high level of motivation, teamwork capacity and communication skills (in English language) are expected. Experience in scientific programming and initial knowledge in data analysis and statistics are desirable.

Period (months): 
36 months

IAA is an equal opportunity institution. Applications to this program by female scientists are particularly encouraged.

Should you need any further information or assistance concerning the application, please contact the IAA at severoochoa[at]