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Job advertisement Postdoctoral Research Associate in Physical Oceanography

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European Geosciences Union

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Physical Oceanography

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Physical Oceanography


University of St Andrews

Climate, Ocean, and Atmosphere @ St Andrews (COASt)
The Climate, Ocean, and Atmosphere at St Andrews (COASt) research group studies fundamental and topical questions about our coupled ocean-atmosphere and climate system. Combining expertise in oceanography, atmospheric dynamics, paleoclimate, and biogeochemistry, COASt sets out to:

  • derive fundamental insight into the physical and biogeochemical dynamics of the atmosphere, the ocean, and their interaction;
  • reconstruct, decipher and understand the causes of past climatic change;
  • make robust predictions for how the ocean and atmosphere will change in coming decades and millennia.

The group’s research involves using a combination of global observations, paleoclimate proxy records, simplified ocean and atmosphere numerical simulations, and complex Earth System Models. COASt is a dynamic and vibrant group, hosting regular meetings and social events to foster collaborations, build community, and drive exciting new science.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences addresses fundamental questions about the past, present, and future of Earth and other planets. We foster an environment for creative, collaborative science and research-led teaching. We desire individuals whose expertise will enhance that environment whilst strengthening and expanding our existing expertise in climate dynamics, atmospheric science, isotope geochemistry, oceanography, biogeochemistry, field geology and environmental Earth science. The school’s research is organized around three themes:

  • Climate, Society and Environment focusses on examining Earth’s changing environment. Expertise includes the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere, ocean biogeochemistry, reconstructions of ocean chemistry, atmospheric CO2 and past climate, landscape evolution, ocean acidification and its impact on biomineralisation and volcanic impacts on climate and society.
  • Earth Resources and Sustainability targets pressing scientific questions that address the challenge of net zero and the energy transition. Research ranges from finding new resources and providing geological and environmental solutions for their extraction, to best practice in managing our natural environment and our metals, water and energy resources for a sustainable future.
  • Evolution of Planets and Life explores planetary evolution through time, from the formation of the solar system to the present, understanding geodynamic processes and how they shape planets, and the co-evolution of life and environments.

The School of Earth and Environmental Science has recently undergone an exciting phase of expansion, with new faculty hires – including in climate dynamics, biogeochemistry, and atmospheric dynamics – and a £2M investment in new laboratories. We collaborate in marine research with the European Marine Biology Research Centre, Scottish Oceans Institute and Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland. We have competition-based access to the UK’s High Performance Computing Facilities and the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) computing analysis cluster, JASMIN. The School is a member of the IAPETUS2 and SUPER NERC Doctoral Training Partnership and we have collaborative research interests with Schools across the University.

University of St Andrews

  • The third oldest university in the English-speaking world.
  • Ranked top UK university in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • Ranked number one in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.
  • Students at the University of St Andrews are more positive about their education than students at any other mainstream university in the National Student Survey 2023.
  • The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s top university and one of the top four universities in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2024.
  • The University is top in the UK for Teaching Quality in the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.
  • Research-intensive, more than 88% of research carried out by the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2021).
  • Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder
  • A Strategy founded on ambition to be World-Leading, Diverse, Global, Entrepreneurial and Sustainable all underpinned by a commitment to socially responsibility.
  • A community of 10,000 students and 3000 staff.
  • Highly international – more than 30% of students and staff are from outwith the UK
  • A non-campus university, closely integrated with the ancient town of St Andrews
  • Top quality sports, music and nursery facilities for staff and students


St Andrews, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales


Relevant divisions
Climate: Past, Present & Future (CL)
Ocean Sciences (OS)

Full time

Entry level

£37,099 - £40,521 per annum

Required education

Application deadline
18 December 2023

20 November 2023

Job description

We are seeking a talented and creative postdoctoral researcher to work on high latitude ocean dynamics, using observations, numerical models, and theory. Candidates should have a high level of technical skill in numerical modeling and data analysis, and a strong grasp of ocean dynamics. The position is initially available for two years, with the possibility of extension.

Through their impact on Earth’s energy budget and biogeochemical cycles, the high-latitude oceans play a crucial role in global climate on timescales ranging from decades to millennia. A prominent circulation feature in these regions is large cyclonic gyres. Although these subpolar gyres exhibit many similar features across the different ocean basins, their impacts on climate (particularly through carbon and heat uptake) differ substantially. In a warming climate, the configuration of these gyres – including their surface forcing and connectivity to the rest of the ocean – is going to change. Predicting the nature of these changes, and their broad impact on global climate, relies on a deep understanding of the underlying dynamics of these regions.

You will join the Ocean Dynamics group at the University of St Andrews. You will explore a wide array of observational data to understand the dominant characteristics of the high-latitude ocean gyres in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere and develop novel idealized numerical models of these regions. Using a collection of simulations, you will explore the sensitivity of these regions to changes in properties such as topographic configuration, surface forcing, and coupled ice-ocean dynamics. Together with theoretical considerations, you will use these simulations to develop an understanding of high-latitude ocean gyres, the timescales of their variability, and their impact on climate. Broadly, you will explore how and why different high-latitude ocean regions exhibit different properties and climate impacts and consider whether these impacts might be different under past or future climate states. Using this understanding, you will move on to assess the representation of these gyres in global climate models. To this project you will bring unique perspective and creativity and help to forge the overall direction of the research as it progresses.

You will have:

  • A PhD (or shortly expected to achieve) or equivalent in physical or mathematical sciences;
  • An understanding of physical processes relating to climate and the ocean and/or atmospheric circulation;
  • Experience of running and/or analyzing numerical ocean circulation (or equivalent atmosphere/climate) models;
  • Strong programming skills in Python or another appropriate data processing and visualization language.

How to apply

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr Graeme MacGilchrist, email:
For more information and to apply, see here.