Alumnus testimonial

Bart – PhD student

During his bachelor’s study, Bart developed a strong interest in small-scale meteorological processes. Especially numerical modelling. This is why he continued his master’s with a specialisation in Meteorology and Air Quality and now also his PhD.

During my study I greatly enjoyed the freedom of academic research, and because of that decided to pursue a PhD position

What kind of research do you do as PhD student?
"After I finished my master’s, I was offered a PhD position at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. There I am currently working in the High Definition Clouds and Precipitation for Climate Prediction (HD(CP)**2) project. A project aimed at high-resolution modelling of the atmosphere, with the goal of improving the understanding and representation of convection, clouds and precipitation in general circulation models.

More specifically I am looking at the role of nocturnal processes, and the influence of not correctly representing them in our models, on daytime convection. The main tool that we are using to address this question is LES, and the knowledge of this type of model that I acquired during my study has greatly sped up the start of my research!"

How did you master’s prepare you for a PhD?
"During my master’s I worked together with Jordi Vila-Guerau de Arellano, Chiel van Heerwaarden and Kees van den Dries on developing a conceptual model for educational purposes (CLASS). I am proud this model is now used in a number of Earth and Environment courses.

One limitation of the original model was that it was only suitable for studying cloudless conditions. During my first master’s thesis, we extended the model formulation to account for the influence of shallow cumuli on the development of the sub-cloud layer. This was my first experience with both numerical modelling, and coding such models in modern languages like C++/Python. Which was very useful in later work.

In my second thesis, I focused more on turbulence resolving models (large-eddy simulation; LES, and direct numerical simulation; DNS). We used DNS to study the behaviour of small unresolved scales in LES, and its representation in LES by sub-grid scale models. At my internship at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, we implemented Lagrangian particle tracking in LES. This allows for the spatial and temporal tracking of massless particles. Knowing the inner workings of the models you are using is crucial, and both my second thesis and internship provided the perfect introduction to the world of LES."

What did you like about your master’s?
"The master’s Earth and Environment provided me a relevant course for my specific interest. For example, Atmospheric Modelling. Also, I had the opportunity to develop a new conceptual model for educational purposes (CLASS).

And I had the freedom to do the second thesis and extended (6 months) research internship abroad. I greatly enjoyed the freedom of academic research. With this goal in mind, the opportunity to do additional research projects was very welcome."

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