Full Stack Web Developer for Environmental Forecasts

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN21-37
Grade: A2
Job Ref. No.: STF-PL/21-37
Location: Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany
Department: Forecasts
Section: Development
Reports to: Team Leader
Closing Date: 31 August 2021

2. About ECMWF

ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. It is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1975 by a group of European nations and is today supported by 34 Member and Co-operating States, mostly in Europe. The Centre’s mission is to serve and support its Member and Co-operating States and the wider community by developing and providing world-leading global numerical weather prediction. ECMWF functions as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions and holds one of the largest meteorological archives in the world. The success of its activities relies primarily on the talent of its scientists, strong partnerships with its Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies such as machine learning across its operations.

Over the years, ECMWF has also developed a strong partnership with the European Union, and for the past seven years has been an entrusted entity for the implementation and operation of the Climate and the Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the EU Copernicus Programme, as well as a contributor to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The collaboration does not stop there and includes other areas of work, including High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools. It is enabling ECMWF to now provide data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring. ECMWF has recently become a multi-site organisation, with its headquarters based since its creation in Reading, UK, its new data centre opening in 2021 in Bologna, Italy, and new offices, also opening in 2021 in Bonn, Germany.

For additional details, see www.ecmwf.int/.

ECMWF has long recognised the value of high-quality forecasts in mitigating the effects of natural disasters. Recognising that floods are among the costliest natural disasters in Europe, the European Commission instigated the development of the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) at its Joint Research Centre (JRC). Development and testing were carried out in close collaboration with national hydrological and meteorological services, European civil protection agencies (through the Emergency Response and Coordination Centre (ERCC)), and other research institutes. Since 2011, EFAS has been part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service - Early warning for floods (CEMS-Floods) and it became fully operational in 2012, with ECMWF being the computational centre responsible for the production of its forecast and their dissemination through its own web service.

Alongside this, ECMWF co-operates with the JRC in the provision of the operational Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS), a scaled-up version of EFAS covering the global domain as a Copernicus EMS operational service since 2018. In addition, ECMWF is also part of the Aristotle-ENHP project, providing briefs to the Emergency Coordination Response Centre of the European Commission on possible upcoming floods in Europe and the world.

EFAS and GloFAS help to protect citizens, the environment, property and cultural heritage when major floods occur by providing:

  • added-value early flood forecasting products for hydrological services;
  • unique overviews of current and forecast floods in Europe (EFAS) and the world (GloFAS) more than 3 days in advance and;
  • a network of operational hydrological services.

Current products include pan-European/ Global overview maps of flood probabilities up to 15 days ahead and detailed forecasts at stations where the national services are providing real-time data. They are served through intuitive and interactive web interfaces (currently one for EFAS, one for GloFAS, but anticipated to be merged in the next few years) designed to provide user experience and tools necessary for decision making. More than 70 hydrological services and civil protection services in Europe are part of the EFAS network, whilst there are more than 6000 registered GloFAS users.

Several European organisations, including ECMWF, are responsible for running the operational EFAS and GloFAS systems. In addition to providing ensemble meteorological forecasts, ECMWF:

  • acts as the EFAS and GloFAS Computational centre, the heart of data processing and model calculations and;
  • hosts the web interface for the EFAS and GloFAS Information Systems, and contributes to their development.

3. Summary of the role

CEMS-Floods offers two Information Systems in the form of webservices to its users (registered and public) through dedicated web platforms (https://www.efas.eu/ and https://globalfloods.eu/) The EFAS web platform allows its partners to access hydrological and meteorological forecasts and information and its forecasters to issue flood notifications to relevant EFAS partners and daily report to the Emergency and Response Coordination Centre of the European Commission. The platform also allows non-authenticated users to browse past forecasts, while authenticated users access real time forecasts issued twice a day. The GloFAS platform enables unrestricted browsing of its products to any self-registered user.

Both websites consist of two main components:

  • a back-end consisting of a Django/Python application, with its own REST API, and a WMS-T server, based on a customised Mapserver instance, serving data coming from different sources, including the ECMWF service ecCharts. For EFAS, the back-end API also supports some key functionalities of the front-end related to flood notifications and notifications feedback.
  • A front-end, based on Drupal 8 plus AngularJS (for EFAS), and Django templates with REACT (for GloFAS). The front-end includes a key component, the MapViewer, which is a single page application developed using Leaflet (for EFAS) and OpenLayers (for GloFAS). The MapViewer allows to display and interact with the layers served by the WMS-T back-end and by other WMS-T. For EFAS, the front-end includes additional interactive features like sending georeferenced flood notifications to users and collecting feedback from users about those notifications.

All the components are using Docker containers technology deployed on a Kubernetes cluster.

The role of this position is to maintain and further develop the CEMS-Floods web applications (i.e., EFAS and GloFAS) with a focus on the back-end aspects, while liaising frequently with front-end developers from other teams.

The main activity will be to continue their development by implementing new functionalities as identified, and to eventually merge EFAS and GloFAS in a single platform in the medium to long term.

The Full Stack Web Developer will work within the Web Development team in close cooperation with the CEMS-Floods team as well as with other CEMS-Flood centres. The successful candidate will participate in the design of new features, bringing their experience in web design and ensure that any new developments are smoothly integrated into the ECMWF operational environment.

4. Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Updating CEMS-Flood products offered through the websites: adding, editing, reorganising Mapserver layers served through the WMS-T, managing the underlying shp files, maintaining and developing the Python code handling access restrictions and interactive features like queryable layers, data download etc. through WMS and REST APIs
  • Designing and developing new functionalities when identified, in collaboration with the front-end developers
  • Developing tools to share and display graphical Web products co-designed with the CEMS-Floods team
  • Ensuring the operational maintenance of the CEMS-Floods webservices
  • Integrating own and 3rd-party new developments into ECMWF operational system, taking care of correctly configuring Kubernetes descriptors, logs, monitoring, backups etc., in collaboration with Operations (Web Applications Team)
  • Contributing to users account management, in collaboration with ECMWF Service Desk and external organisations
  • Working closely with team members at ECMWF but also with other CEMS-Flood centres such as the JRC and the Dissemination centre, with a responsibility for all interactions regarding EFAS and GloFAS web application and web service developments

5. Personal Attributes

  • Excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, and a proactive approach
  • Positive attitude towards working in an international environment
  • Flexibility, with the ability to adapt to changing priorities and user needs
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to work independently and in a medium size team
  • Eagerness to work in a collaborative environment for shared ownership
  • Ability to work across disciplines and with different international organisations
  • Good eye for design and ability to understand hydrological forecasts
  • Ability to work within a multi-site team, with frequent use of virtual communication platforms

6. Qualifications and experience required

Education

  • A university degree (EQF Level 6) or equivalent experience, in computer science or a related discipline together with a certification in IT web development, web project management and programming.

Experience

  • Very good, demonstrated experience of programming in Python.
  • Very good programming experience in the Django web framework.
  • Experience in developing RESTful web services compatible with web authentication standards (OpenID Connect, JWT etc)
  • Experience with MapServer or equivalent mapping application, GIS tools such as QGIS or ArcGIS, and PostgreSQL+PostGIS.
  • Experience working within a larger web development team and maintaining an operational system.
  • Experience with JavaScript libraries such as Angular, REACT or Leaflet would be an advantage.
  • Some experience with Docker and/or Kubernetes would be an advantage.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • Good knowledge of the OGC standards, in particular WMS, WMS-T and SOS is essential.
  • Knowledge of the GIS operations with vector and raster data (data creation, conversion and management, spatial projection, and geographic transformation) is essential.
  • Good knowledge of code versioning (GIT) is essential.
  • Some familiarity with ticketing systems (Jira or other) and with Continuous
  • Integration/Continuous Delivery practices (Bamboo, automated tests, image repositories etc) is essential.
  • Knowledge of data format NetCDF would be an advantage.
  • 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 A2 grade, according to the scales of the Coordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £62,166.00 net of tax (UK) or EUR 75,178.92 net of tax (Germany). 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 www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: 1 January 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter, subject to funding.

Length of contract: Four years with the possibility of extension, subject to continuous funding.

Location: The position will be based in either Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany

Interviews conducted by videoconference are expected to take place on 24 September 2021.

8. How to apply

Please apply by completing the online application form available at www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs/.

To contact the ECMWF Recruitment Team, please email jobs@ecmwf.int.

Please refer to the ECMWF Privacy Statement. For details of how we will handle your personal data for this purpose, see: https://www.ecmwf.int/en/privacy.

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: 16 July 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.