Bayi Glacier in Qilian Mountain, China (Credit: Xiaoming Wang, distributed via

Job advertisement Associate Scientist II: Data Assimilation

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European Geosciences Union

Associate Scientist II: Data Assimilation

Associate Scientist II: Data Assimilation

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NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) is a leader in supercomputing and data services necessary for the advancement of atmospheric and geospace science. CISL’s mission is to remain a leader at the forefront of ensuring that research universities, NCAR, and the larger atmospheric, oceanographic, and related research communities have access to the computational resources they need for their research. To fulfill the need for a stronger workforce at the intersection of High Performance Computing (HPC) and geoscience problems, CISL engages in education and outreach activities to inspire and attract a diverse future workforce.


Boulder, United States of America


Relevant divisions
Atmospheric Sciences (AS)
Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI)
Planetary and Solar System Sciences (PS)

Full time

Entry level


Preferred education
Undergraduate degree

Application deadline
Open until the position is filled

24 November 2020

Job description

What You Will Do:

This position is in the Data Assimilation Research Section (DAReS) in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). DAReS develops and maintains the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART), a community tool for ensemble data assimilation. DART interfaces with dozens of models and enables researchers to apply data assimilation (DA) techniques throughout a range of disciplines including meteorology, oceanography, space weather, and hydrology. DAReS is a small, collaborative team of software engineers, data assimilation scientists, and physical scientists dedicated to creating and providing the best possible tools to users both inside and outside NCAR. DAReS staff collaborate closely with a diverse group of earth system scientists who are experts on confronting models with observations to make predictions.

In close collaboration with the rest of the DAReS team, this Associate Scientist (AS) will use DART to enhance and support ongoing data assimilation (DA) research. The percentage of effort devoted to each of the specific duties outlined below will depend on the strengths of the candidate relative to the rest of the team, and may evolve over time.


-Continually advances knowledge and scientific research using DART. This includes:

- Scientific Research: Support the implementation and testing of novel data assimilation algorithms. May collaborate with other labs across and outside NCAR.

- Scientific Assessment: Run realistic or synthetic data assimilation experiments and evaluate the quality of the results. This includes developing and testing state-of-the-art DA diagnostic tools.

- Infrastructure development: Write new and efficient interfaces that enable ensemble data assimilation research using different modeling frameworks. These models span the entirety of the earth system and include NCAR’s own Community Earth Systems Model (CESM) component models like the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM), the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model with thermosphere and ionosphere extension (WACCM-X), the Community Land Model (CLM), the Modular Ocean Model, and CICE (Sea Ice Model); and atmospheric chemistry systems like the Multi-Scale Infrastructure for Chemistry and Aerosols (MUSICA).

- Community Support: Answer questions from the user community about DART and their experiments and maintain the infrastructure to distribute and test DART.

- Science Communication and Outreach: May participate in relevant scientific conferences and present DA research or assist in preparation of peer-reviewed journal publications. Assist other DAReS members to prepare and teach the DART tutorial to the scientific user community. Help document new infrastructure, results and algorithms.

What You Need:
Education and Years of Experience

- Bachelor’s degree in geophysical science or a relevant mathematical or computer science. At least 2-3 years of experience as an Associate Scientist I or equivalent position in earth and/or climate research. A master’s degree is desirable (but not required).

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Required Technical Skills:

- Ability to write and understand code in a programming language (e.g., Fortran, Python).
- Knowledge of and ability to learn code management practices (Git/GitHub).
- Demonstrated experience working with geophysical models.
- Experience in analyzing model predictions and verification statistics.
- Experience in processing datasets of different formats (e.g. ASCII, NetCDF).
- Knowledge of UNIX or related systems.

Desirable Technical Skills:

- Demonstrated knowledge of data assimilation

Workplace Skills:

- Strong skills in working effectively with people of diverse backgrounds.
- Ability to work collaboratively as a team member across organizational boundaries.
- Good oral and written communication skills in English.
- Ability to author technical reports and publications and present papers at conferences.
- Ability to complete tasks on schedule with moderate supervision.
- May supervise and mentor students. My share tasks and responsibilities with other Associate Scientists.
- Willingness and ability to travel.

Applicant Notes:
- A Cover Letter is required at time of application for this position.

- An Inclusion Statement will be required for all applicants advancing to an in-person interview. If requested, this statement should address past efforts, as well as future vision and plans to advocate for and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization and/or field of work.

- Please note that while the position description details both minimum requirements as well as desired skills and experience, we want to remind applicants that you do not need to have all the desired skills and experience to be considered for this role. If you have the passion for the work along with experience in a related field, you are encouraged to apply. We can provide on-the-job training for the rest.

- A pre-employment screening is conducted in conjunction with an offer for employment. This screening may involve verifying or reviewing any of the following relevant information: restricted parties screening, employment verification, performance records of internal candidates, education verification, reference checks, verification of professional licenses, certifications, and Motor Vehicle Records. UCAR complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).