ECMWF – Data Analyst for GRIB mapping

ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, UK
Closing date: 12 August 2021

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.

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.

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.

Other information
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 £62,166.00 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 www.ecmwf.int/en/about/jobs, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: As soon as possible.
Length of contract: Two years.

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


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