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TU Berlin

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Athanasia Nikolaou


Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center/ TU Berlin

Rutherfordstr. 2
12489 Berlin

Email: athanasia.nikolaou@dlr.de
Phone: +49 (030) 670557908

Further Information can be found on http://www.dlr.de/pf/en/DesktopDefault.aspx/tabid-156/220_read-31296/start-n/


Research Focus:

In my PhD I am currently investigating an early stage in the evolution of the earth and other terrestrial planets named the Magma Ocean stage, which consists of a fully molten mantle that starts to solidify by convective cooling. The main focus is its interaction with the "secondary" atmosphere composed of H_2O and CO_2 gases (as opposed to the "primary" atmosphere, a He and H+ mixture of Solar consistency that escaped the earth gravity early enough in the solar system history) and the impact of the greenhouse blanketing on its lifetime.The studying tool being developped is a 1D magma ocean thermal convection model based on the Rayleigh-Benard problem and the radiative energy balance with the atmosphere. I am interested in applying stochastic parametrizations of processes that can affect the dynamical evolution and in coupling the liquid like-convection with a pre-existing 2D solid-state convection code. Adding to the complexity of the problem are the High Rayleigh number (10^30) combined with a relatively low Prandtl number (10-100). The magma ocean can be seen as if feeding itself to life through the outgassing of greenhouse gases from its interior which in turn trap heat and delay its cooling and solidification. Constraining the magma ocean state in the planets would help constrain the initial conditions of current solid state convection and the planetary water and carbon dioxide inventories. Relevant for Terrestrial planets of the solar system, and exoplanets close to the parent star.

  • Thermal convection
  • Rayleigh-Benard problem
  • Ultimate Convection regime (Kraichnan, 1967)
  • Stochastic processes
  • Water in planets
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Time series analysis
  • Dynamical systems
  • Ocean



Short CV
Young Graduate Trainee at European Space Agency, Advanced Concepts Team, ESTEC, Netherlands
M. Sc. at the Institute for Theoretical Meterology at the School of Integrated Climate System Sciences Klima Campus, University of Hamburg, Germany
(Thesis: "Structural stability of an ocean's thermohaline circulation with respect to the surface freshwater forcing")
Student Assistant in Data Analysis of Phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic at the Institute for Hydrobiology & Fisheries Science, UHH
Diplom in Physics: National and Kapodestrian University of Athens (UOA), Greece
Publications and Activites
A. Nikolaou, P. A. Guiterrez, A. Duran, I. Dicaire, F. Fernandez-navarro and C. Hervas-Martinez.
Detection of early warning signals in paleoclimate data using a genetic time series segmentation algorithm.
Climate Dynamics (2014).
A. Nikolaou, N. Tosi and A. Plesa.
Poster: "Modelling magma ocean solidification and volatile outgassing during early planetary evolution.
EGU 2015.
Session Co-Convener at the 1st Climate Engineering Conference, Berlin 2014 "The Potential role of space in climate engineering concepts"
Public Outreach:



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