Postdoctoral position at the Technical University of Madrid - Application deadline approaching

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Postdoctoral position at the Technical University of Madrid - Application deadline approaching

Francisco Navarro

Subject: Postdoctoral position at the Technical University of Madrid

Research theme: Rheological relationships for temperate ice

Required background: ground-penetrating radar and/or numerical modelling

The Numerical Simulation Group on Engineering and Sciences (GSNCI), Technical University of Madrid (, a research group focused on ground-penetrating radar applications to glaciology, numerical modelling of glacier dynamics, and glacier mass balance studies, invites applications for an 18-month postdoctoral position, with the details below.

Project description:

The goal of the project is to improve the description of the rheology of temperate ice and its implementation into numerical models of glacier dynamics. Numerical and theoretical challenges to face range from adequate meshes for incorporating temperate ice bodies into a polythermal environment at low cost, the incorporation of the enthalpy balance equation, as well as boundary conditions for the enthalpy balance equation to a new constitutive relation, specifically a new rate factor, for temperate ice. Observational aspects are focussed on the large-scale estimation of the water content of temperate ice bodies, as well as the spatial and temporal scale of its variation. This involves the determination of the water content of temperate ice from the velocity of the radar wave, which depends on the permittivity of a three-component mixture of ice, air and water.

Numerical simulations moved in the recent years from describing a cold temperate transition surface (CTS) towards an enthalpy description, which allows avoiding incorporating a singular surface inside the model (Aschwanden and Blatter, 2009). However, just recently the boundary conditions for the enthalpy balance equations were derived (Aschwanden et al., 2011, in prep.) and incorporation into numerical modelling is not yet common.

Still the water content requires to be calculated from a stationary diffusive equation (e.g. Rückamp et al., 2010), which is costly for large ice masses. The advantage of deriving the water content by solving the evolution equation for the water content is levelled out by the disadvantage of using a relation for the rate factor, which has a validity that is restricted to a short range. The combination of the measurement of the water content in temperate ice masses, and in particular its spatial and temporal distribution will help to extend the parameterization of the rate factor for temperate ice, and it will also allow deriving an entirely new constitutive relation for temperate ice. For this purpose, however, modelling studies need to be established that focus on this aspect. We also plan to combine constitutive relations dependent on water content, and dependent on temperature, for the temperate and cold ice areas, respectively, of polythermal glaciers.

This is a co-operative project that will be carried out by our research group in collaboration with Prof. Angelika Humbert and Dr. Martin Rückamp, from the University of Hamburg/Alfred Wegener Institute.


Aschwanden, A. and H. Blatter (2009): Mathematical modeling and numerical simulation of polythermal glaciers, J. Geophys. Res., 114, F01027, doi:10.1029/2008JF001028.

Aschwanden A., H. Blatter and E. Bueler (2011): An enthalpy formulation for glaciers and ice sheets, J. Glaciol., in prep.

Rückamp, M.,  N. Blindow, S. Suckro, M. Braun and A. Humbert (2010): Dynamics of the ice cap on King George Island, Antarctica: field measurements and numerical simulations. Ann. Glaciol., 51(55), 80-90.

Suitable expertise and skills

Candidates should have research experience and hold a Ph.D. related to glaciology, geophysics or a closely related branch of Physics, Mathematics or Earth Sciences.

The candidate is expected to provide her/his expertise in at least one of the two main research fields involved (numerical modelling and ground-penetrating radar –including radar data processing), though a combination of skills in both fields would be most valued. GIS and remote sensing skills will also be valued. Skills in publishing in international scientific journals and writing of funding applications are expected.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to participate in polar fieldwork.


The salary will be according to the B2 contract category of the Technical University of Madrid (27,170.40 Euro/year gross salary) during the first year of contract, and B1 category (28,359.00 Euro/year gross salary) during the second half year. This results in a monthly gross salary of 1,811.36 Euro (fist year) and 1,890.60 Euro (second half year), with 15 payments per year. After social security and personal income tax deductions typical of single person without children, this results in ca. 1,400 Euro per month net salary (15 times per year). This is a typical postdoc salary in Spain, where the cost of living is lower as compared to most western and northern European countries.

Further inquiries about the position may be directed to the leader of the research group, Dr. Francisco Navarro, e-mail: [hidden email], phone: +34 914533565.

The application deadline is 10th January 2012. The application should be sent by e-mail to [hidden email], stating ‘Application to Postdoc position’ in the subject field. The application should include a CV, a publication list, details of the relevant qualifications and experience, and names and contact data of two persons who may act as reference.

The starting date should preferably be between 1 February and 1 March 2012, though a slightly later start date is negotiable.

Prof. Francisco Navarro., desp. A-302-4
Departamento de Matemática Aplicada
ETSI de Telecomunicación, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Av. Complutense, 30 (Ciudad Universitaria)
28040 Madrid, Spain
Tel. ++34 914533565, Fax ++34 913367289
e-mail [hidden email]

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