Scientist in Earth System Assimilation

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN21-03
Grade: A2
Job Ref. No.: STF-PS/21-03
Department: Research
Section: Earth System Assimilation Section
Reports to: UV and Visible Group
Closing Date: 19 February 2021

2. About ECMWF

ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing global numerical weather predictions and other data for its Member and Co-operating States and the broader community. ECMWF carries out scientific and technical research to improve its forecasts, runs one of the largest supercomputer facilities in Europe and manages a long-term archive of meteorological data.

For details, see

3. Summary of the role

The Scientist will work in the UV and Visible Observations Group, in the Earth System Assimilation Section of the Research Department at ECMWF and will be responsible for developing a prototype system to compare the model to visible reflectance in cloudy scenes, using observations from satellites, as a first step towards direct reflectance assimilation in cloudy areas. This work will be mostly funded by the Monitoring of Cloudy Visible Radiances (CloVIS) project. Work has been done in the group to assimilate visible radiance for aerosol applications under the ESA-funded Aerosol Reflectance Assimilation Study (please refer to: for background information). This position will utilize some of the tools developed in the ARAS project.

The successful applicant should have knowledge of the use observations in Numerical Weather Prediction with either direct experience of satellite data assimilation or relevant experience which could be readily applied to this problem.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

The main aspects of the role are:

  • Contributing to modifying elements of ECMWF’s code to allow comparison of observed cloudy reflectance with reflectance modelled from the ECMWF short range forecast, using existing models available at ECMWF
  • Further development of the surface reflectivity model at visible wavelength which is part of the reflectance forward operator
  • Undertaking research to evaluate the quality both of visible observations and the modelling system is of sufficient quality in order to ascertain their suitability for data assimilation in NWP
  • Providing regular feedback both internally at ECMWF and to the European Space Agency.
  • Representing ECMWF at external meetings and scientific conferences to present the outcome of the research, therefore some international travel may be required

5. Personal attributes

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Flexibility, with the ability to adapt to changing priorities and user needs
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to work independently and in a small team
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive approach
  • Scientific curiosity to explore innovative development opportunities
  • Ability to communicate with and understand the complex requirements of scientists, engineers and professional staff

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • A university degree or equivalent in physics, mathematics meteorology or a similarly related subject.
  • A PhD is desirable but not essential.


  • Experience in the fields of satellite observations for Earth Observation and (ideally) the assimilation of these for NWP (or related geophysical) applications.
  • Good knowledge of scientific programming languages including Fortran and shell scripts as well as experience with supercomputers and Linux systems.
  • Specific knowledge of visible measurements or thermal radiances would be an advantage but it is not essential.
  • Some experience with aerosol and cloud retrieval from visible radiances would also be an advantage.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • 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

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £62,166.00 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS 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: Contract of 12 months, with the possibility of extension, subject to funding

Location:The position will be based in the Reading area, in Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Successful applicants and members of their family forming part of their households will be exempt from immigration restrictions.

Videoconference interviews (via Blue Jeans) are expected to take place week commencing Monday, 1st March 2021.

8. How to apply

Please apply by completing the online application form available at

To contact the ECMWF Recruitment Team, please email

Please refer to the ECMWF Privacy Statement. For details of how we will handle your personal data for this purpose, see:

At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion.

Applications are invited from nationals from ECMWF Member States and Co-operating States, listed below:

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

Applications from nationals from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases.

published: 20 January 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.