Scientist to work on km-scale land-atmosphere modelling

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN21-10
Grade: A2
Job Ref. No.: STF-PL/21-10
Location: Bonn, Germany
Department: Research
Section: Earth System Modelling
Reports to: Coupled Processes Team Leader
Closing Date: 15 April 2021

2. About ECMWF

ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing numerical weather predictions for its Member and Co-operating States as well as users around the world. ECMWF carries out scientific and technical research and analysis aiming to continuously improve global prediction. ECMWF processes in its high-performance computing facility large amounts of observations to provide up-to-date global analyses and climate reanalyses of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface.

For details, see

Over the years, ECMWF’s partnership with the European Union has grown, and in 2014 ECMWF became an entrusted entity to operate the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) on behalf of the European Commission until mid-2021 and ECMWF is preparing plans for the next phase of the Copernicus Programme for the period 2021-2027.

ECMWF currently operates from its headquarters, located in Reading, UK, and its data centre located in Bologna, Italy. Over the course of 2021, ECMWF will be opening additional new premises in Bonn, Germany.

3. Summary of the role

ECMWF has an exciting opportunity for a Scientist to work on the H2020 NextGEMS project. The role of this position is to further develop the representation of the land-atmosphere interaction in ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) as part of NextGEMS.

NextGEMS aims to develop a new generation of global coupled Storm-Resolving Earth System Models (SR-ESMs), exploring kilometre-scale simulations (2-4 km both in the atmosphere and the ocean) with an explicit representation of essential Earth system processes, such as ocean mesoscale eddies, atmospheric deep convection and certain orographic processes.

The position sits in the Earth System Modelling Section of the Research Department. As member of the Coupled Processes team, there will be a lot of collaboration with the Physical Processes and Numerical Methods Teams members, so strong communication and interpersonal skills will be key in this role.

The successful candidate will evaluate and improve the representation of the land surface and of its coupling with the atmosphere at km-scales in the IFS, initialise and conduct coupled simulations at 2-4km resolution, explore the benefits of a km-scale representation of the land surface on near surface meteorology, hydrology, and atmospheric circulation.

The Scientist will help to identify and address model errors in the IFS at km-scale, through targeted diagnostics and numerical experimentation, in close collaboration with teams across ECMWF and NextGEMS partners. They will also contribute to the communication and dissemination of these results to a wide range of stakeholders. Whilst this position will be based in Bonn, Germany, there will be a lot of collaboration with staff based at the HQ in Reading, United Kingdom so it is anticipated that visits to the HQ in Reading will be required.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Conducting coupled km-scale simulations and identifying systematic land fluxes errors (e.g. using FLUXNET/FLUXCOM networks or local supersites/observatories)
  • Further developing the land surface modules and their coupling with the atmosphere and inland water cycle in ECMWF’s IFS
  • Validating the components of the surface energy budget, water cycle, momentum budget using near-surface meteorological observations (e.g. SYNOPs/METARs)
  • Contributing to improving the land and vegetation cover, the land-atmosphere coupling strength, and orographic processes at km-scales
  • Evaluating the impacts of resolving land-surface heterogeneities, including orography, on near-surface weather and hydrology and atmospheric circulation
  • Implementing high-frequency data logging at selected observational and renewable energy sites in collaborations with users
  • Managing project deliverables in the framework of the NextGEMS project and contributing to publications, communication activities and reporting
  • Participating in the NextGEMS workshops and hackathons and representing ECMWF and NextGEMS results in relevant meetings

5. Personal attributes

  • Very strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively with other team members and project partners, but also able to work independently
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Dedication, passion and enthusiasm to succeed both individually and across teams of developers
  • Ability and willingness to collaborate with internal and external experts on related aspects of forecast and coupled model development
  • Active listener who seeks and respects the views of others
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range tasks to tight deadlines

6. Qualifications and experience required


  • A university degree or equivalent professional experience in atmospheric science, geosciences or related areas of physics.
  • A PhD is desirable but not essential.


  • Professional experience in meteorology, geosciences, or a related subject, with a background in land-surface/land-atmosphere interaction/or orographic processes modelling. A background in data assimilation would be an advantage.
  • Experience with developing and maintaining large scientific codes.
  • Experience with large Earth Observation datasets in various formats such as netCDF and GRIB.
  • Experience in statistical analysis with both observational and model data.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • Very good programming and scripting skills.
  • Good process understanding of land-atmosphere coupling
  • Ability to coordinate work and interact with a large Consortium
  • 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 up to EUR 75,178.92 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PL 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: 1 September 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Length of contract: Three years, with possibility of a further contract. This is subject to the signing of the grant agreement, expected on 1 April 2021.

Location:The position will be based at ECMWF’s duty station in Bonn, German, which is currently expected to open in the second half of 2021.

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

Videoconference interviews (via BlueJeans) are expected to take place in early May 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: 05 March 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.