Posted: November, 2019
Anticipated start:  September 2020, possibly May 2020.
Supervisory team: Dr. Joe Melton (University of Victoria/Environment and Climate Change Canada), Dr. Bernhard Rabus (Simon Fraser University), Dr. Chris Spence (Environment and Climate Change Canada), Dr. Colin Goldblatt (University of Victoria)

Project description: Incorporation of excess ground ice and its impacts into the Canadian Land Surface Scheme including Biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC) model.

Permafrost regions are rapidly warming due to anthropogenic climate change. Process-based modelling offers the ability to project how that warming will impact the region’s physical and biogeochemical environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) develops and applies the Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM). This position will develop the capabilities of CLASSIC, the terrestrial component of CanESM, to simulate permafrost region processes. The lack of a representation of excess ground ice and its melt is a significant gap in many permafrost models. While excess ground ice has been incorporated into some models, the representation remains crude and poorly evaluated. This position, as part of PermafrostNet (, will parameterize CLASSIC using site-level data, collaboratively develop a dataset of excess ground ice, and determine the most valuable model outputs from future scenarios for use in hazard assessment. The parameterizations developed through this project will be incorporated in future versions of CanESM informing global efforts around climate change impacts such as the IPCC assessments.

This fully funded PhD studentship will be based on the University of Victoria campus in Victoria, BC with the student regularly visiting the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (, also on the University of Victoria campus. As part of PermafrostNet, the new Permafrost Partnership Network for Canada (, it will have an outstanding training environment.

Interested applicants should have an M.Sc. in physics, geography, environmental science, earth science, or related field, ideally possessing previous experience with numerical modelling and coding. Especially strong applicants possessing only a B.Sc. will be considered. Applicants must be self- motivated, have strong communication skills, and be well organized.

This PhD studentship is fully funded with additional support for research and conference travel available for the duration of the project.

APPLICATION: Send Dr. Joe Melton ( your letter of interest, CV, a writing sample, copy of transcript(s), and contact information for 3 references. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. To ensure full consideration applications should be received prior to January 10th, 2020.