PhD Position in Snow Hydrology

University of Freiburg Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources


PhD Student in Snow Hydrology

The Chair of Hydrology in the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources is looking for a PhD student in snow hydrology | term for filing application: 15.04.2020
Consider making the switch to the University of Freiburg: It is one of the most renowned and strongest research universities in Germany, with a history spanning more than 500 years. You'll engage in top-notch research and teaching with a unique spectrum of disciplines, perspectives, and people - right in the heart of one of Germany's most beautiful cities.

The University of Freiburg's human resources policy is oriented toward the principles of equal opportunity and diversity. The university is committed to the goal of creating a family-friendly university.

The Chair of Hydrology in the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources is looking for a

PhD student in snow hydrology
Part-time position (70 %), Start-date: 01.06.2020

The position is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) project SPENSER “Understanding and Predicting the Spatial and Temporal Variability of Snow Processes Under Different Vegetation Covers Combining Laser Observations and Point Measurements” and will be located at the Chair of Hydrology (Prof Dr. Markus Weiler) at the University of Freiburg, Germany. The project is in cooperation with the Chair for Monitoring of Large-Scale Structures at the INATECH, University Freiburg.

A comprehensive knowledge about vegetation and forest structures influences on snow accumulation and ablation processes is especially important since forest covers are one of the most rapidly changing land cover types. Furthermore, changing climatic conditions will also result in expanding forest and shrub areas above timber line and hence changing the properties of forest canopies. Recent studies confirmed the high spatial and temporal variability present in the snow cover under forest vegetation dependent on various canopy conditions, tree species and climate conditions. The proposed study will focus on examining the effects of different tree species and different forest structures on the snow cover dynamics. An innovative observation approach that combines numerous continuous point measurements (SnoMoS) with frequent UAV (drone) based dual wavelength laser scanning observations will be used to observe the snow cover evolution under forest and shrub canopies in two different climate regions (mid elevation mountains (Black forest) and alpine (Swiss Alps)). The unique dataset will be used to improve existing snow models and to test new vegetation algorithms and to derive robust vegetation structure indices from large-scale datasets to be used in large-scale models.

Applicants should have an outstanding MSc degree (or equiv.) in hydrology, environmental science, geoscience, geography, remote sensing, engineering or a closely related field. Knowledge in programming, statistical data analysis and in environmental modeling, preferably hydrological modeling, is essential. Particular experience in snow hydrology and field work in winter will be an asset. We encourage applications from enthusiastic dedicated individuals with strong quantitative skills as well as very good writing and communication skills in English. Applicants should hold a valid driver’s license (European Cat. B)

We offer an interdisciplinary, international work environment in the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources with a formal PhD program ( ). The PhD positions will be advised by Prof. Markus Weiler, head of a dynamic, international research group. Collaboration and co-advising by local and international partners (e.g. research Unit: Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements at WSL, Switzerland) is foreseen.

Please send your application (Reference WE4598/16-1) as one single pdf-file to . The file should include a cover and motivation letter, CV, certificate & transcript of your highest degree earned, an example of your own scientific writing (in English, if available), and the names and contact details of at least two persons who will be able to provide references on demand.  For questions, please contact Markus Weiler (

The position is limited to 31.05.2023. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00000989, by 15.04.2020 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:
Universität Freiburg
Professur für Hydrologie
Prof. Dr. Markus Weiler
79085 Freiburg

For further information, please contact Herr Prof. Dr. Markus Weiler on the phone number +49 761 203-3535 or E-Mail .
General and legal remarks:
Full-time positions may generally be split up into two or more part-time positions, provided that there are no formal or legal barriers. Candidates are selected in accordance with the provisions of the AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz - German General Equal Treatment Act).

Applicants with disabilities (Schwerbehinderte Menschen) will be given preferential consideration in case of equal qualification.

The department offering the position is liable for the content of this job posting. Textual errors do not constitute a basis for any claims or rights. The relevant human resources department has sole responsibility for all legal transactions made within the context of the selection and hiring process.

Please note that breaches in privacy and unauthorized access by third parties cannot be excluded in communication by unencrypted email.

In your application, please refer to


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