PhD in Modelling Oil Spill and Response in the Marginal Ice Zone

Trondheim, Norway
16 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
31 May 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Climate change is leading to decline and thinning of Arctic sea ice, potentially increasing the commercial and shipping activities in Arctic marine waters. In addition, expanding maritime activity in the region will likely result in greater seasonal use by tankers and bulk carriers, fishing fleets and cruise ships. This foreseen rise in activity raises additional concerns about the risk of oil spills. Recent interest in developing the rich oil and gas resources in Arctic marine waters will also contribute to increased likelihood of spill accidents.

Laboratory experiments, field research, and practical experience gained from responding to past oil spills have built a strong body of knowledge on oil properties and oil spill response techniques. However, much of the work has been done for temperate regions, and additional research is needed to make informed decisions about the most effective response strategies for different Arctic situations. Several models are currently available for predicting the fate and transport of oil and these models are typically made up of an extension model, a drift model and a weathering model. Although the existing models can already consider the influence of air and water temperature on the fate and transport of oil including the low temperature range in the Arctic, the effect of sea-ice on the extension and drift of the oil slick has not been well studied.

Oil slick contamination can cause serious damage to aquatic life as oil films reduce the penetration of oxygen into the water. In addition, the floating oil is also fatal to diving seabirds and mammals. Given that most marine environmental conditions in the Arctic (such as low water temperature and low concentration of oil-degrading microorganisms and inorganic nutrients) are not favourable for bioremediation, mechanical, in-situ burning, chemical, biological and other physical methods are often employed. Mechanical containment and recovery includes the use of booms, barriers and skimmers, as well as natural and synthetic sorbent materials.

Booms, barriers and skimmers, are useful in containing the spread of oil and to concentrate the oil in thicker surface layers facilitating its recovery or burning of the oil. The presence of sea-ice poses severe challenges to the use of these means in the Arctic. Models to predict the interaction between oil, booms and sea-ice are not readily available. In case of a surface spill in the marginal ice zone (MIZ), the dynamics and behaviour of broken ice will be very decisive for the fate and drift of the oil. Models to predict the efficiency of the so-called Ice Management (IM) may be very useful to develop operational procedures for the use of remediation devices for these waters. In certain cases, the ice may act as booms, and combined with IM, be used to contain the oil from spreading and thus enable mechanical recovery or in-situ burning.


This PhD study will investigate the different physical processes associated oil spill fate, spread and transport. The objective is to develop a novel numerical model to forecast the fate, spread and transport of spilled oil in the MIZ. This objective will be achieved by:

  • Building an extension model to predict the extension of an oil slick in the presence of broken sea ice.  This model would take into account gravity, viscous forces, surface tension and the damping effect of ice on the extension of the oil slick.
  • Building a drift model that takes into account environmental conditions such as wind speed, tidal currents and waves. The effect of ice on wave damping and the subsequent effect on the drifting of the oil slick would also be investigated.


The candidate should have a good background in marine civil engineering, applied mathematics, physics, applied chemistry, hydrodynamics, or mechanics, with good programming skills, good analytical skills, and the ability to work both independently and as part of a strong team. Good communication skills in English, both spoken and written are required. Arctic offshore related knowledge and experience are helpful. The candidate is expected to be self-motivated and to publish the project results in international peer-reviewed journals.


PhD Candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross NOK 436 900 before tax. There will be a 2 % deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund from gross wage.

Engagement as a PhD Candidate is done in accordance with “Regulation concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”, given by the Ministry of Education and Research of 19.07.2010. The goal of the positions is to obtain a PhD degree. Applicants will engage in an organized PhD training program, and appointment requires approval of the applicants plan for a PhD study within three months from the date of commencement.

The position is of 3 years duration.

For further information about the position, please contact associate professor Raed Lubbad (

See for more information.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. The positions adhere to the Norwegian Government's policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Women are encouraged to apply.

The application

The application must contain information of educational background and work experience. Certified copies of transcripts and reference letters should be enclosed. Applications with CV, grade transcripts and other enclosures should be submitted via this webpage at

Mark the application with IV-157/18.

Start-up date may be discussed, but tentatively August / September 2018

Application deadline is 31.05.2018

According to the new Freedom of Information Act, information concerning the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the list of applicants.

About this job

  • Deadline Sunday, May 31, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Jobbnorge ID 151374
  • Internal ID 2018/11569
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Academic CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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