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Ph.D. Research Assistantships in Climate and Agricultural Modeling

We seek three motivated students to work on our projects to study the impacts of anthropogenic stratospheric aerosols on climate.  We are studying proposed climate intervention with sulfate aerosols, and the impacts of soot that would be generated by fires in cities and industrial regions as a result of nuclear war.  The work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Open Philanthropy Project, and SilverLining.  Our team at Rutgers collaborates with scientists at the University of Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Columbia University to use climate, agricultural, and economic modeling to study how an aerosol cloud created in the stratosphere by deliberate human action would affect humanity.  This knowledge is crucial for citizens and policymakers to confront the threat of the current global nuclear arsenals or to recommend policy to address global warming.

For the climate intervention studies, we will evaluate the impact of different proposed stratospheric aerosol intervention schemes on agriculture.  We will use state-of-the-art climate models and agricultural models to examine whether it is possible to tailor future climate to maximize agricultural output, rather than just control temperature and precipitation patterns.  This will involve improving and running the models, and engaging in international collaborative intercomparison projects, specifically the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) and the Global Gridded Crop Model Initiative (GGCMI).

For the nuclear winter project, from our recently funded proposal, “Critical unresolved science problems that we aim to address include direct fatalities in scenarios we have not yet considered, release of radioactivity into the environment, and more detailed consideration of the impact of smoke on climate and the ozone layer.  Each of these can be treated within the climate model we are using, the Community Earth System Model, with minor modifications.  Specific issues that still need improved analysis are fuel loads for different targets, the detailed composition of the smoke from fires, the height to which smoke from fires rises including possible rainout, and the impacts on humans of radioactivity.  The crop modeling team will evaluate impacts of enhanced ultraviolet and diffuse radiation, as well as impacts of surface ozone concentration change for crop growth and will refine food shortages.”  You would be able to choose which of these topics to study.  To see the results of our ongoing studies and copies of our recent publications, please visit, and read a recent Nature article about our work at

The ideal candidate will already hold an M.S. degree in atmospheric science, climate science, agricultural modeling, or a related science, have experience with climate or agricultural modeling, have computer programming skills, such as with Fortran, python, GrADS, Matlab, or other similar computer languages, and have excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral.

All our graduate students receive a generous salary, currently $33,170 per year, full tuition, and benefits, including health care.  We also have funds for travel to scientific conferences, as soon as travel can begin again.

To apply, create in a single document (e.g., a Word or pdf file) the following:

  1. A cover letter explaining the interest in pursuing this degree
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Unofficial transcripts
  4. List of three professional references and their contact information

Send the file, and any questions, to Prof. Alan Robock, .

Formal application to our graduate program at Rutgers University is required after your selection.  Please read about our Atmospheric Science Graduate Program at

Application review will start immediately, and a successful applicant may start as early as Spring 2021.