ECMWF/EUMETSAT – Research Fellowship on Microwave Radiance Assimilation for Numerical Weather Prediction

ECMWF, Reading, UK (exceptionally, it may be possible to be based in Bonn, Germany)
Closing date: 31 October 2021

The Research Fellow will join the Earth System Assimilation Section in the Research Department at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). They will work alongside ECMWF scientists taking active part in research and development activities to improve the interpretation of satellite information and its assimilation into the ECMWF weather forecast system. The main focus will be the assimilation of radiance products from atmospheric sounding instruments on polar-orbiting satellites, in particular the improved assimilation of radiances from passive microwave temperature and humidity sounders (e.g., ATMS, AMSU-A, MHS, etc). These radiances are a leading contributor to today’s weather forecasts, and the optimised and extended use of these observations is a continuous challenge for Numerical Weather Prediction centres. Developments will also target a successful early exploitation of the Microwave Sounder (MWS) on-board EPS-SG.


The fellowship activities will involve the following topics:

  • General enhancement of the assimilation of microwave sounder radiances in the ECMWF model, including the refined treatment of uncertainties, data sampling, and observation operator developments;
  • Research regarding the extended use of sounding radiances in challenging conditions, such as extensions to the all-sky use of radiances (ie in clear, cloudy, and rainy conditions), or better assimilation of surface-sensitive sounding radiances over land, sea ice, and snow;
  • Evaluation and verification of radiance products from new satellites, including preparations for the use of MWS on EPS-SG;
  • Real-time monitoring and assessment of the quality of radiance products from microwave sounders on different polar-orbiting satellites (Metop, NOAA, S-NPP, JPSS, FY-3, etc.) in the operational ECMWF assimilation system;
  • Updates of the assimilation of radiance observations in line with operational system changes and support of radiance data usage in re-analysis activities.


  • University degree in Physics, Maths or Meteorology or equivalent and relevant research experience, ideally including PhD or equivalent study.
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English, both verbally and written, and some knowledge of one of ECMWF’s other working languages (French or German) would be desirable but is not essential.
  • The Fellow should have a good university degree covering Physics, Mathematics and Meteorology or equivalent and relevant research experience, ideally at a PhD-level or equivalent. Further experience in satellite data analysis, data assimilation and/or radiative transfer is particularly desirable.
  • Strong computing skills are essential, as the job will involve (a) understanding and modifying the forecasting system, which is mainly written in Fortran-90 and Unix scripts, and (b) making statistical analyses and scientific figures using tools like Python, IDL or Metview.
  • Good interpersonal and team working skills are required, along with strengths in scientific analysis, synthesis and presentation.
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and a good knowledge of one of the ECMWF’s other working languages (French or German) is desirable but not essential.

Other information
The successful candidate will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations. The annual basic salary if based in the UK will be £62,166.00 net of tax. The annual basic salary if based in Germany will be EUR 75,178.92 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS as defined in the Staff Regulations of ECMWF, with the exception of the removal expenditure which will be reimbursed within the agreed ceiling laid down by EUMETSAT.
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.


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