Why study climate science....

sabrinaSabrina Wenzel is a PhD student at Deutsches Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Here she tells us why she has chosen to embark on a Phd in climate science and what she sees as the positives and negatives of this route.

Why did you choose a PhD in climate science?

At school I was very interested in atmospheric processes such as the global wind system. So I started to study meteorology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz. I had no idea what exactly to expect from this subject and where I would end up with it but I was told in the first semester that there were good job opportunities in the field.

After finishing university with a good degree I felt that I had not learned enough. Therefore I decided to apply for a PhD at the DLR and that is where I am now. I was not particular looking for a PhD in climate science, but the job offer was the most interesting option for me.

What are the advantages?

There are two aspects of my job I most appreciate; travelling and meeting many people from different places.

What I like about travelling is not only the fact that you go to different places and might find some spare time to see some of the local sights but when attending a conference or workshop you experience other institutions; you get to know what they are about and how people work there. This brings me to my second point. Meeting people means to me, to spread out my horizons, not only in terms of research interests, but also for new ideas on my own work. And some of these people you will meet again at the next conference, which makes you feel a part of a big science community.

There are other advantages in this job like flexible working times; depending on the particular workplace, there are often no strict working times. You could even work from home from time to time, which sometimes can be useful.

Describe a typical day

I think my typical day sounds quite ordinary. Usually I arrive at work around 8.15am to 8.30am or later, depending on the public transport. After preparing a cup of tea and having a look into my letter box, I read emails. This fills the time until we usually have a short morning coffee break where people from the department meet and have a short chat. Sometimes in the morning there are also official meetings with different groups of interest. I spend the rest of my day analysing model outputs, coding a new plot script, or finding errors in existing scripts. My working day usually is over between 5pm and 6pm. 

Are there any negative aspects?

I know from others that finding a permanent position in science can be difficult.

Would you recommend it as a career choice

Yes, if you are thirsty for knowledge and don’t want to do it for the money!

Examples of research areas targeted by EMBRACE


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