ECMWF – Scientist to work on fire forecasting products

ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, UK
Closing date: 29 August 2019

Traditional fire weather indices predict conditions that are conducive to unmanageable fire events rather than modelling probability of ignition and spread. The Fire Weather Index that is at the core of the modelling component of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), only considers weather parameters. This means that non-vegetated areas, where fire cannot occur due to unavailability of fuel (e.g. deserts), can be wrongly associated with high fire danger values. As a workaround, these areas are typically masked out using climatological land-vegetation maps. Establishing the link with the actual fuel availability in these models is regarded as one of most important single improvements to the field by the fire danger modelling community. As opening the way toward the inclusion of these aspects, this position is an exciting opportunity for a motivated individual to work at the forefront of fire forecasting.

The focus of the position will be the development of new products to enlarge the portfolio of what is already available. To this end the post-holder will investigate the availability of newly available remote observation (in terms for example of fuel load, soil moisture, active fires) and model outputs (as for example lightning prediction and atmospheric instability indices) to complement the information provided by classical fire danger indices. The integration of such information into GIS based platforms (e.g. QGis or complaint programming languages) to provide impact-oriented products is also considered a high priority development.

This role calls for a Scientist with a strong background in data analysis and computer science and experience in working in an operational environment. It requires someone with good technical skills and problem-solving capabilities able to adapt to changing priorities as provided by an evolving system.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Leading the development of the new impact-oriented products for fire forecasting, taking into consideration user requirements and operational constraints
  • Ensuring all developments are compatible with operations and have appropriate levels of optimisation and reliability
  • Monitoring the generation of products and solving problems as they arise, using operational tools, procedures and internal expertise
  • Supporting the team in other tasks related to the analysis of product quality
  • Contributing to documentation and training of users as required

Grade remuneration
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 £59,228.40 net of tax. 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, including the Centre’s Staff Regulations regarding the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: 1st of January 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Length of contract: 12 months.


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