Ph.D. Research Assistantship in climate and agricultural modeling in the Atmospheric Science Graduate Program at Rutgers University


We seek three motivated students to work on our projects, “Environmental and Human Impacts of Nuclear War,” “Stratospheric Aerosol Climate Intervention Designed to Minimize Negative Impacts,” or “Global Agricultural Impacts of Stratospheric Aerosol Climate Intervention.”  Our team at Rutgers collaborates with scientists at the University of Colorado, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Columbia University to use climate, agricultural, and economic modeling to study how the smoke from fires ignited in a nuclear war  or an aerosol cloud created in the stratopshere by deliberate climate intervention (geoengineering) 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.  The second and third position will be affiliated with the Rutgers Impact Studies of Climate Intervention (RISCI) lab.


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 will 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

For the climate intervention projects, 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).


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.


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. Unofficial GRE scores

  5. 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 Fall 2020.