Data Analyst for GRIB mapping

1. Position information

Vacancy No.: VN21-38
Grade: A2
Job Ref. No.: STF-PS/21-38
Location: Reading, UK
Department: Forecasts
Section: Production Services
Reports to: Team Leader of the Data Archives and Dissemination Services Team
Closing Date: 12 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 include 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

3. About GRIB at ECMWF

GRIB (General Regularly-distributed Information in Binary form) is a concise data format commonly used in meteorology to store historical and forecast weather data. It is standardized by the World Meteorological Organization. GRIB is one of ECMWF’s main data formats. Currently the Centre’s operational data is produced and disseminated in a mixture of GRIB Edition 1 (GRIB1) and GRIB Edition 2 (GRIB2). There are many limitations to the use of GRIB1 and as such the Centre has made the decision to migrate away from the operational production and dissemination of GRIB1 data over the coming few years.

The migration from GRIB1 to GRIB2 production is a large task, with the main bulk of the work focusing on the mapping between the two editions; overcoming issues related to the handling of units, issues related to step ranges and mapping to new appropriate keys in GRIB2. Only once the mapping is complete, can ECMWF then start the process of implementing these changes into operations and migrating users across to GRIB2. The aim is to do this work on the timescale of the coming 2 years, with the successful candidate playing a critical role in completing this task.

4. Summary of the role

ECMWF has an exciting opening for a Data Analyst who will be responsible for the mapping of the remaining GRIB1 products to GRIB2. The aim of this two-year opportunity is to complete all the mapping to GRIB2 so that the operational migration for users will be able to take place shortly thereafter.

Due to the complexity and operational risks, this will require a very methodical and careful approach, and one of the challenges will be in mapping some of the units, so a reasonable understanding of scientific concepts and standard units related to ECMWF’s operationally produced parameters will be highly desirable.

The role will be focused on GRIB mapping, but whilst the successful candidate does not need to be a GRIB expert, some prior knowledge would be highly desirable. Previous experience of working with other scientific data formats would be a definite advantage and the candidate must demonstrate a proven ability and willingness to learn new concepts and skills.

The role will also require an individual that can work autonomously, but they will also pro-actively direct any questions to relevant subject matter experts as required. There will much interaction with the rest of the Data Archives and Dissemination Services (DADS) team and key members of staff in Development Section, as well as with other staff working across the other ECMWF duty stations in Bonn and Bologna, so a willingness to work collaboratively is essential.

The successful candidate will be a member of the Data Archives and Dissemination Services Team, within the Production Service Section, based in Reading. This team is responsible for the archiving of operational and research data into the MARS archive and Fields DataBase (FDB) and the generation and dissemination of ECMWF’s products. The team works closely with colleagues from across the whole organisation, particularly when working on Data Governance issues and working on data format related issues, such as those related to GRIB.

5. Main duties and key responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Working with the GRIB experts in the DADS team and undertaking self-training in the first few months to build up expertise in GRIB and related knowledge ahead of the main mapping work
  • Supporting the archiving requirements of the Boundary Conditions Optional Programme within the context of migration as required
  • Working methodically through the full list of parameters produced by ECMWF, starting with those currently operationally produced
  • Clearly capturing the requirements for mapping for each parameter, considering the mapping of units, time steps and other features by identifying the class of parameter and class of templates required for each parameter
  • Flagging the most difficult parameters to map and working with GRIB experts to look for solutions to these, likely via use of local tables
  • Creating new templates for parts of the mapping that currently do not exist already in GRIB2, involving putting forward some of these new templates as proposals to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
  • Preparing for the eventual operational migration from GRIB1 to GRIB2, although the migration itself may happen after the end of this 2-year contract.

6. Personal Attributes

  • Methodical approach to work is essential, with a keen attention to detail
  • Independent and able to work autonomously, but willing and pro-active in asking questions to relevant experts as required
  • Very good ability to also work in a team, as a valued member of the DADS team, and in collaboration with colleagues in other Sections
  • Excellent, clear written and verbal communication is essential, so that the work produced by the successful candidate can be precisely understood by other colleagues, for use in the migration
  • Flexibility, with a willingness to adapt plans if priorities shift over time
  • Dedication and enthusiasm to the work and to learning more about data formats and mapping
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Active listener who seeks and respects the views of others

7. Qualifications and experience required


  • A university degree (EQF Level 6) or equivalent professional experience is required.


  • Some professional experience in a scientific environment is required.
  • Demonstrated experience of working on a project that required a very methodical approach is essential.
  • Experience of working with GRIB would be highly desirable.
  • Experience of working with any scientific data formats would be an advantage.

Knowledge and skills (including language)

  • A proven ability to learn new concepts and skills, including to self-learn, is essential.
  • Scripting/programming skills would be an advantage to help prepare for the implementation, which would be needed to manipulate big structures of data.
  • Knowledge of meteorology/hydrology would be highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of scientific concepts and standard units would be highly 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.

8. Other information

Grade remuneration

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 Ł62,166.00 net of tax. ECMWF also offers a generous benefits package. 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: Two years.

Location: This position will be based in Reading, UK.

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

9. 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: 16 July 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.