The Department of Atmospheric Physics at Charles University, Prague offers PhD studies in a wide range of subjects related to meteorology, numerical prediction, numerical flow simulation, atmospheric chemistry and air quality, climatology, climate modelling and climate change studies, middle atmospheric studies, nonlinear systems, data analysis and statistical modelling. For more information about the research fields, please see the list below.

About the PhD study program at KFA MFF UK

Admission
To be admitted to a PhD study program „Atmospheric physics, meteorology and climatology“, the applicant must submit evidence of a completed Master’s degree in the same or related field of study. Charles University welcomes applicants with Master’s degrees from any university. For more information about the admission to PhD programs, please see http://bit.ly/mff-admission. In case of interest, please contact us first at kfa@mff.cuni.cz.

The Department of Atmospheric Physics is a part of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. The applicants are expected to possess knowledge in mathematics and physics at Master’s degree level and relevant to the atmospheric research. A background in meteorology and/or climatology is also expected. Nevertheless, in case of an applicant specialized in other research field related to the atmospheric/climate studies, some of the basic knowledge might be also acquired during the PhD study. Basic knowledge of modelling, data processing and good programming skills are considered an advantage.

Graduate profile
The graduate acquires comprehensive scientific knowledge necessary for the study of atmospheric processes within a wider context of other processes occurring in the climate system and the adjacent interplanetary space. The scope of knowledge gained by the graduate includes, in particular, the following areas: atmospheric physics, dynamic and synoptic meteorology, modelling of atmospheric processes, climatology and climate changes, processes in the boundary layer of the atmosphere, turbulences and flow modelling, atmospheric chemistry and air quality, or characteristics of the higher atmosphere. The graduate is prepared for creative research work in the academia, as well as various positions within the public or commercial sectors.

Doctoral studies at KFA MFF UK
Structure of the doctoral study is outlined in the Individual Study Plan (ISP), proposed by every student at the beginning of their study. The ISP should describe the research subject to be investigated, together with a general working hypothesis, in a manner similar to a research project proposal. The ISP should also indicate general plan of related research activities and their anticipated schedule. Furthermore, the ISP should outline publications timetable, possible student projects, or study visits abroad. The dissertation thesis submission should be planned for the fourth year of the study. The PhD students and their activities are regularly evaluated by the Board for Doctoral Studies that recommends continuation or termination of the studies.

During their doctoral study, the students are required to attend selected lectures, present their results at scientific conferences*, be involved in related research and publish at least three peer-reviewed papers over the course of their study**. Apart from the successful defense of their doctoral thesis, to obtain the PhD degree students have to pass the English language exam (equivalent to FCE, courses provided by the university are free) and to prove their theoretical knowledge in the field through the doctoral state exam. These requirements can be fulfilled anytime within the PhD studies but preferably during the first two years.

Doctoral studies are full-time studies lasting up to four years. The doctoral study program in Czech or English is free of any fees and the students are supported by a regular monthly stipendium of about 400 up to 550 EUR/month (from 10500 up to 14500 CZK/month). This is usually supplemented by other sources of income, e.g. employment in research projects (usually part-time job with salary of about 500 EUR/month). Doctoral studies are completed with a dissertation defense. Graduates are awarded the international academic title of “Doctor” (abbreviated to Ph.D. and written after the holder’s name).

*) The travel support is usually provided within a related research project or by the department.

**) It is expected that the PhD student will be the main author of at least two papers and at least two papers will be published in peer-reviewed journals with IF. By the time of the dissertation defense, the papers should be published or accepted for publication.


Research fields at KFA MFF UK

Meteorology and weather prediction 
Weather prediction and synoptic-dynamic meteorology belong to the core of research at the Department of Atmospheric Physics. Numerical weather prediction using the WRF model is complemented by close cooperation with the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, particularly with the NWP group behind development of a local version of the ALADIN model. Weather types and other weather classification methods are studied too. Last, but not least, this topic involves analysis of atmospheric fronts (objective as well as subjective) and of changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.

Climatology
Climatology research includes broad areas covering regional climate analysis (focused on, but not restricted to, the Czech Republic), special features of urban climate, as well as various fields of applied climatology (related to, e.g., technological implications of local climate, as well as links to agriculture or energy production) and biometeorology. Data from various sources are used (“classical” surface measurements, as well as data from remote sensing techniques, with particular focus on satellite data). Our researchers cooperate with colleagues from Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (that is responsible for climatological measurements in the Czech Republic).

Climate change studies
In the frame of our research activities, climate changes and their impacts are studied through both dynamical and statistical models, at global as well as local scales. Aside from analysis of past and future evolution of basic atmospheric characteristics, various aspects of climate interactions with other Earth systems are also targeted, particularly climate change impacts in hydrology or agriculture.

Climate modelling
Apart from the analysis of climate model results, our department has for many years been active in the downscaling community producing regional climate scenarios using the dynamical downscaling technique based on regional climate models (RCM). With our simulations produced with the RegCM model, we actively collaborated in many related multi-national projects (e.g. PRUDENCE, ENSEMBLES, CECILIA). Most recently we have been participating in the CORDEX activity, namely EURO-CORDEX. Topical studies include two flagship pilot studies: LUCAS (Land Use and Climate Across Scales) and Convective phenomena at high resolution over Europe and the Mediterranean (CPC).

Furthermore, our research involves the urban climate modelling using regional climate models (RegCM, WRF) coupled to urban canopy models. We use these modelling tools to assess the present-day climate conditions of urban areas, the urban-rural contrast in weather parameters and their impact on air quality as well as the evolution of the urban atmospheric environment within the changing climate.

Numerical flow simulation
The computational fluid dynamics is represented in the research of the department mainly by large eddy simulations of atmospheric boundary layer flows, especially within the urban canopy. The common application is the dispersion of air pollution in the city environment. We develop our own LES model ELMM and use also other codes for our simulations. The research covers applications of CFD to understand the flow and dispersion processes in complex geometry or in temperature stratification, subgrid modelling and the numerical methods used for such simulations.

Atmospheric chemistry modelling 
Atmospheric chemistry research at our department focuses primarily on the short term modifications of tropospheric composition related to different environmental changes, both of anthropogenic and natural origin. The main research topics involve the investigation of urban canopy air chemistry and its links to emission sources and meteorological variables. We have been using advanced chemistry transport models (e.g. CAMx, WRFchem) to study the related processes in detail and a strong emphasis is put on the emission modelling too. A special attention is dedicated to the investigation of biogenic emissions, their dependence on meteorological conditions and their role in modulating air quality. We collaborate with research groups from University of Graz, BOKU in Vienna, IPSL at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.

Middle atmospheric research 
The middle atmospheric research at the Department of Atmospheric Physics involves studies of the middle atmospheric dynamics, wave phenomena with focus on gravity waves, trends of the vertical extent, transport and its wave driving, ozone trends and influence of solar forcing. We collaborate with international research groups (ISSI team on orographic gravity wave drag constraints) and with colleagues from other universities and institutes (e.g., University Leipzig, BOKU Wien, University of Graz, University of Vigo, German Aerospace Center). We utilize state-of-the-art theoretical methods for research of atmospheric dynamics with focus on wave-mean flow and wave-wave interactions, satellite observations like GPS RO and, in cooperation with our partners, sensitivity simulations with comprehensive (EMAC-MESSY) as well as mechanistic models (MUAM).

Time series analysis and statistical modelling
A range of advanced statistical methods is developed and implemented at our department. The relevant research topics involve analysis of spatiotemporal variability in various atmospheric and climate data (including the issues of climate change detection), attribution of the variability patterns (especially regarding the long-range teleconnections), or development of models for statistical downscaling. Manifestations of nonlinear and chaotic behavior in the climate time series are also intensely studied.