We are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to work on predictive modelling of land subsidence and its impacts under different management, economic and climate scenarios. Modelling results will be used to develop action perspectives to mitigate land subsidence and its negative impacts.
This position is within the framework of the joint NWA-ORC-programme (NWA=Dutch Research Agenda, ORC=Research Along Routes by Consortia) ‘Living on Soft Soils: Subsidence & Society’ project of Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University and Research, Deltares Research Institute, TNO Geological Survey of the Netherlands, and Wageningen Environmental Research.
In The Netherlands land subsidence is a continuously ongoing process due to:
- drainage of peatlands and areas reclaimed from the sea;
- expansion of built-up areas; and
- the infrastructural network on soft soil, salt mining and gas extraction.
An increasing number of people and economic assets are exposed to subsidence and damage costs are soaring. Moreover it gives rise to serious safety issues due to increased flood risks and in case of subsidence as a result of peat oxidation – causes considerable greenhouse gas emissions which will further contribute to climate change. In some areas tipping points have already been reached, where current land use can no longer be maintained without considerable costs, underlining the urgency to take action. The threat of land subsidence, the knowledge hiatus on process-interplays causing it, and lacking mid- to long-term coping strategies, ask for an integrated research programme that addresses the issue of land subsidence in a holistic way, whereby insights about physical-chemical-biological system functioning, the societal impact evaluation and implementation of measures as well as an assessment of their governance and legal implications co-evolve. The overall aim of this programme is to develop an integrative approach to achieve feasible, legitimate and sustainable solutions for managing the negative societal effects of land subsidence in The Netherlands, connecting fundamental research on subsidence processes to socio-economic impact of subsidence and to governance and legal framework design.
The 6-year programme is now entering its third year and integration of the output of our five work packages is on its way, in which you, as a postdoc, have a central role. Currently, 11 PhD students and 3 postdocs are working on measuring techniques, process understanding, impacts, measures, governance approaches and the legislative framework. Currently, within the framework of this project we are also recruiting a postdoctoral researcher (3 years, 0.8-1.0 FTE). That postdoc will work on the translation of measures to mitigate land subsidence and its negative impacts into model scenarios and inputs and to make scenarios, model outputs and underlying datasets and -products (e.g. maps) accessible for different groups of knowledge-users (See: Postdoctoral Researcher on Scenario Development for Modelling Land Subsidence Mitigation Measures in The Netherlands
). Close collaboration with this postdoc researcher is foreseen.
As a postdoc you implement a spatial numerical modelling system to perform scenario-based forecasting of land subsidence and its associated damage. The modelling will take in data products, physical process-understanding and component model formulations, damage calculation systematics (e.g. buildings, infrastructure, agricultural produce), and policy scenario’s (e.g. business as usual, regional measures, local measures) as developed across work packages 1 (Measuring and monitoring), 2 (Mechanisms), 3 (Impact), and 4 (Measures).
As such, the position is key to the NWA-LOSS programme and its outputs. You will participate in setting up a computation infrastructure for the modelling (in close collaboration with Deltares, WENR and TNO-GSN). You will steward the filling of it with a library of actual datasets (incl. metadata), scenario assumptions, and model scripts. Outputs are an operational modelling environment, forecast output digital data, open-access scientific publications, explanatory reports to stakeholders, and web portal content.
- are to have national coverage (about 1/3 of the country is subsidence prone and includes both built-up and agricultural area) at high resolution (foreseen at grid-cell footprints of 25x25 m);
- consider the variable substrate down to 30 meters in great detail, and seasonal variations (i.e. temperature and precipitation time series, human management (i.e. polder water levels, agricultural practice).
- trains and updates its forecasting models on subsidence as monitored over the past few years with satellite data and ground-based techniques, something that the integrative modelling may also adopt (data assimilation).
This project will be executed in the Delta Evolution and Subsurface Processes group (prof. dr. Stouthamer, dr. Erkens) and Global Change Geomorphology group (dr. Cohen), Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Research, Delft University of Technology, Deltares Research Institute, TNO – Geological Survey of
The Netherlands and WENR. Intensive cooperation with PhD candidates and research staff of the NWA-LOSS consortium partners is foreseen. Various national and international networks supporting land subsidence science exist of which the postdoc researcher will be part.