Scientist / Senior Scientist - to work on the ECMWF
model dynamical core development

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN18-05
Grade: A2/A3
Job Ref. No.: STF-C/18-05
Department: Research
Section: Earth System Modelling
Reports to: Team Leader Numerical Methods
Closing Date: 28 February 2018

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

3. Summary of the role

A fundamental component of a numerical weather prediction model is its dynamical core. The current operational ECMWF model IFS (Integrated Forecast System) is built on a hydrostatic, spectral transform, semi-implicit, semi-Lagrangian dynamical core. Furthermore, a non-hydrostatic version, developed in collaboration with the ALADIN modelling consortium, is in use at ECMWF for research purposes. The numerical algorithms of the IFS dynamical core are continuously improved to increase its predictive skill and its efficiency. As super-computing technologies shift rapidly towards new architectures, time and energy-to-solution become one of the most important design features while facilitating the increasing complexity of ECMWF’s Earth system model. For this reason, an alternative, scalable, non-hydrostatic dynamical core (IFS-FVM) based on a mass conserving finite volume semi-implicit formulation is being developed at ECMWF. This model development is maturing with work focusing on physical parametrization coupling aspects and numerical algorithm and code optimizations.

This position sits in the Numerical Methods Team of the Earth System Modelling (ESM) section of the Research Department. The incumbent of this post will work in a team responsible for maintaining and improving the current hydrostatic and non-hydrostatic dynamical core and its coupling with physical parametrizations. He or she will be significantly involved in horizontal/vertical resolution upgrades and collaborating closely with other teams of the Research Department. The incumbent of this post is also expected to contribute to the development and validation of the IFS-FVM model and other developments related to improving the scalability and/or adaptation of the dynamical core to future architectures. One particular aspect of this work concerns the physics-dynamics coupling. Ideally, the successful candidate will have a strong background and experience in numerical methods for atmospheric modelling. He or she will be familiar with the numerical methods used in the current and the future dynamical core options of the IFS, together with a very good understanding of dynamical meteorology and the issues related to physics-dynamics coupling.

This position will involve significant interaction with all the teams within the Earth System Modelling Section as well as across other sections. Therefore, the successful candidate must have the ability and willingness to communicate effectively with other scientists across the organisation.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Developing, maintaining and validating the current hydrostatic and non-hydrostatic dynamical core
  • Working on physics-dynamics coupling aspects for potentially different dynamical core options
  • Supporting vertical and/or horizontal resolution upgrades in IFS across all applications (data assimilation/medium-range/extended-range prediction)
  • Supporting the development and evaluation of alternative dynamical core options and their adaptation to future architectures

5. Personal attributes

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and ability to interpret complex results
  • Self-motivated, and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to work in a team
  • Ability to work efficiently and complete diverse tasks in a timely manner

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • A university degree in Meteorology Physics, Mathematics or a related subject.
  • A PhD in a related subject with strong numerical modelling content is desirable but not essential.


  • Experience with numerical modelling methods for global NWP and complex geophysical models is essential.
  • Experience with model diagnostics and validation is essential.
  • Understanding of physics-dynamics coupling issues and some relevant work experience is highly desirable.
  • Experience with large scientific codes and programming in an HPC environment is highly desirable. Knowledge of both Fortran and C++ programming languages will be ideal.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • Very good knowledge of dynamic meteorology.
  • Familiarity with Linux and scripting and visualisation languages such as metview, python, IDL or similar and knowledge of source code management systems is desirable.
  • 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

This position is graded A2/A3 in line with the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations.

For the A2 grade, the minimum annual basic salary will be £58,238.40 net of tax.

For the A3 grade, the minimum annual basic salary will be £71,861.52 net of tax.

Recruitment at the higher grade may be considered where the level of the candidate’s skills and experience exceeds the requirements of the position. This will be at the discretion of the organisation. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-C as defined in the Staff Regulations.

Full details of salary scales and allowances are available on the ECMWF website at, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: As soon as possible.
Length of contract: Four years with the possibility of a further contract.
Location: The position 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 following Member States and Co-operating States:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Staff from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases

published: 24 January 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.