Job Title:
Research Scientist (5189U), Reserve Field Stations & Nature Reserves - #67553

Job ID:

Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, Soda Springs, California, USA

About Berkeley

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Departmental Overview

Located at Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada, the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory (CSSL) is an off-campus research and teaching field station of UC Berkeley specializing in snow physics, snow hydrology, meteorology, climatology, and instrument design. It is in Soda Springs, about 25km northwest of Lake Tahoe. CSSL is a world-renowned laboratory and is one of the best instrumented hydrometeorological study sites in the world with consistent observations of a wide range of atmospheric and snowpack variables. It has a wide range of collaborators, including the California Department of Water Resources, National Weather Service, Sandia National Labs, and a broad range of universities. Research projects at the lab have included climatological analysis of trends in hydrometeorological variables, development of new instrumentation technologies for the measurement of snow water equivalent, rain-on-snow forecasting and decision making, and investigation of wildfire burn scar effects on snowpack. The lab is also one of the foremost media resources for snow and water information with international, national, and local media agencies regularly using the lab as a source.

The Snow Lab receives 30 feet of snow annually on average and can be difficult to access in the winter, which results in the need to park vehicles in the lab's parking lot 200 feet away and hike in on the snowpack. During large storms, the need may arise to park vehicles at a lot 1/4 mile from the facility and hike. Peak season for the lab is October through May and includes the need for twice-daily measurements during storms, research throughout the season, and many school/class tours of the site. On-site housing and utilities may be provided in the lab's living quarters if needed.

CSSL also manages the Onion Creek Experimental Forest site and regularly conducts fieldwork at that location.

We are seeking a Research Scientist to manage and conduct a project on the research, development, and testing of a new sensor system with the intent to incorporate the sensor onto new and existing in-situ hydrometeorological stations and disseminate the associated data to CSSL's partners. This position will also be involved with daily operations at the lab, including monitoring and measurement of severe storm conditions, instrumentation maintenance, data analysis and manuscript preparation, and other regular research and operations tasks.

If you're a well-organized and independent researcher looking to improve snowpack and water forecasting, this is a job for you!

Application Review Date

The First Review Date for this job is: Friday, June 14, 2024
Applications close: Sunday June 30, 2024


Hydrological, Meteorological, and Climatological Research:
  • Under minimal supervision, perform field and experimental work that requires technical knowledge of hydrometeorological equipment and skill in collecting and analyzing hydrological samples.
  • Perform manual measurements, such as federal sampling, snow-board snowfall accumulation and density measurements, deep snow pit profiles including depth, density, snow water equivalent, temperature, free water, crystal/grain size/ type.
  • Manage for hydrometeorological measurement systems, including programming of dataloggers, instrumentation fabrication, siting, installation, and maintenance for equipment such as radiometers, thermocouples, anemometers, eddy covariance systems, precipitation gauges, stream flow gauges, acoustic distance gauges, infrared thermometers, lysimeter arrays, tipping buckets, snow pillows, pressure transducers.
  • Make innovative contributions to research procedures, and often the freedom to implement his/her own procedures.
  • Undertake research projects in collaboration with academic and other investigators.
  • Regularly meet with collaborators to give updates on projects.
  • Participate as a member of interdisciplinary team working on hydrometeorology projects.
  • Exercise independent judgment in making minor deviations from guidelines to adapt them to specific research projects or other needs.
  • Perform statistical analyses of data.
  • Prepare technical reports, publications and presentations.
  • Write proposals for funding.
Forecasting and Operations:
  • Regularly work on site during large storm events during severe conditions to make measurements and run the facility (including occasionally on holidays and weekends).
  • Ensure instrumentation and data collection systems run effectively during storms by monitoring systems and occasionally providing maintenance (snow removal) when necessary.
  • Conduct and/or participate in snow surveys safely in the backcountry at the Onion Creek Snow Survey site.
  • Monitor current and forecasted weather and water conditions throughout the Sierra Nevada and California.
  • Provide occasional briefings on snowpack conditions and expected melt to collaborating scientific and water management agencies, particularly during ablation season.
Education and Community Outreach
  • Give occasional brief (60-90 minute) tours of the snow lab facility to groups.
  • Serve as a point of contact and will run booth at events that CSSL attends as a sponsor/vendor (Truckee Airshow, Donner Memorial State Park Legacy Day, etc.).
  • Update website and social media accounts with daily measurements of precipitation, snowfall, and other conditions.
Media Relations:
  • Serve as a subject matter expert for a variety of groups, including school staff, journalists, and others.
  • Occasionally interview with international, national, or local news agencies in response to various events.

Required Qualifications

  • Technical knowledge of hydrometeorological equipment and skill in collecting (physical) and analyzing (mental) hydrological samples.
  • Knowledge of professional concepts and methods of hydrometeorology with sufficient knowledge of standard practices to perform a variety of hydrological projects.
  • Ability to dig and analyze deep snow pit profiles including depth, density, snow water equivalent, temperature, free water, crystal/grain size/ type.
  • Ability to write technical reports, peer-reviewed publications, and funding proposals.
  • Ability to problem solve both personal and technical issues at field sites.
  • Ability to work in isolated and rugged environments.
  • Ability to ski, split board, or snowshoe, since incumbent will be partially responsible for data collection and equipment maintenance throughout the year (~8 mile round-trip with 2000 feet elevation gain).
  • Ability to deal with heavy snow conditions during winter, including extensive snow shoveling, snow removal from roofs, and operation of snowcats and snow blowers.
  • Ability to work in a varied environment -- performing both office and field work which includes hiking over rough, uneven ground, wading in streams, traversing snow fields and working in inclement/severe weather.
  • Ability to operate power tools, and to work safely in wood and metal working shops.
  • Ability to climb tall towers for instrument installation, maintenance, and removal.


  • Bachelor's degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master's degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.
  • Doctorate degree in related area and / or equivalent experience / training.
  • Avalanche Safety Training.
  • Tower Climbing Training.

Salary & Benefits

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University, please visit the University of California's Compensation & Benefits website.

Under California law, the University of California, Berkeley is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role and should not offer a salary outside of the range posted in this job announcement. This range takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, analysis of internal equity, and other business and organizational needs. It is not typical for an individual to be offered a salary at or near the top of the range for a position. Salary offers are determined based on final candidate qualifications and experience.

The budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position is $64,400.00 - $84,600.00.

  • This is a 100%, full-time (40 hours per week), career position that is eligible for full UC benefits.
  • This position is exempt and paid monthly.
  • This is a hybrid position, eligible for up to 15% remote capability.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the Job Description on the Berkeley Jobs page and submit your resume and cover letter

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Mandated Reporter

This position has been identified as a Mandated Reporter required to report the observed or suspected abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, or elders to designated law enforcement or social service agencies. We reserve the right to make employment contingent upon completion of signed statements acknowledging the responsibilities of a Mandated Reporter.

Driving Required

A valid driver's license and DMV check for driving record is required.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant, please see the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission poster.

The University of California's Affirmative action policy.

The University of California's Anti-Discrimination policy.

posted: 06 June 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.