Principal Climate Scientist

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN16-41
Grade: A4
Job Ref. No.:STF-PS/16-41
Department: Copernicus Services
Reports to:Head of Copernicus Climate Change Service
Closing Date: 23 January 2017

2. About ECMWF *

ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. ECMWF carries out scientific and technical research directed to the improvement of its forecasts, collects and processes large amounts of observations, and manages a long-term archive of meteorological data. Satellite and in situ observations provide the information for up-to-date global analyses and climate reanalyses of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface.

For details, see

ECMWF has been entrusted to operate the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) on behalf of the European Commission until the end of 2020. Copernicus is the European Union (EU) flagship Earth-observation programme. The programme ensures operational monitoring of the atmosphere, oceans, and continental surfaces, and will provide reliable, validated information services for a range of environmental and security applications.

3. Summary of the role

The mission of C3S is to provide authoritative and consistent climate information to European users, which include scientists, expert consultants, planners and policy makers, the media and the general public. The climate information provided for this purpose is derived from observations, global and regional reanalyses, seasonal forecast data, climate model simulations, and other data needed to estimate or project sectoral impacts. A C3S Climate Data Store is being constructed to provide free and open access to climate data, processing tools and information products via the Internet.

The role of the Principal Climate Scientist is to ensure the scientific quality of C3S information and to communicate the relevance of these products to users. The Principal Climate Scientist will act as a ‘senior user’ of the Climate Data Store, for monitoring the state of the climate, developing storylines on climate change and impacts that can be used for outreach, testing the quality of data and tools, and creating contributions to international climate change assessments.

He or she will work together with multidisciplinary teams of C3S scientists, analysts and developers, and in this capacity will provide feedback and advice on the quality of data, tools and processes. The work will be supported by C3S staff dedicated to communication, outreach and user support.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

  • To act as executive editor of C3S monthly state of the climate reports
  • To liaise with the Copernicus management team to develop storylines on climate change
  • To engage with media on behalf of C3S
  • To communicate and promote the C3S science basis to international audiences and stakeholders
  • To develop the C3S contributions to international climate change assessments, including workflows and visuals
  • To assess the scientific quality of CDS data, tools and processes
  • To advise the Head of C3S on gaps and needs for further development
  • To engage and collaborate with scientists, analysts and users as needed to maintain the highest scientific standards for C3S products and services

5. Personal attributes

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work well with multidisciplinary teams (research, production, communication)
  • Ability to motivate and lead

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • A PhD in climate science or a closely related subject.


  • At least 10 years of experience working in climate science using both models and observations.
  • Considerable experience communicating climate change issues and impacts to diverse audiences, both verbally as well as in writing.
  • Demonstrated solid experience in management and leadership, in a similar role.
  • Demonstrated experience of a leading role in international collaborative research projects.

Knowledge and skills

  • Broad expertise in climate science and climate impacts.
  • Excellent awareness of the European landscape of climate science and climate services.
  • In depth technical knowledge required for processing and visualising large datasets.
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English.
  • A good knowledge of one of the Centre’s other working languages (French or German) would be an advantage.

7. Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A4 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £80,977.92 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS as defined in the Staff Regulations.

Starting date: As soon as possible.
Length of contract:Two years.
Location: The role will be based in the Reading area, in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

8. How to apply

Please apply by completing the online application form available at

ECMWF has an Equal Opportunities Policy and applications from all suitably qualified candidates are welcome.

Staff are usually recruited from among nationals of the Member States and Co-operating States.

Staff from non-ECMWF States may be considered in exceptional cases where there is a strong need for a particular competency.

* The ECMWF Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The ECMWF Co-operating States are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

published: 13 January 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.