ECMWF – Scientist – Post-processing to improve surface weather forecasts

ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading, UK
Closing date: 12 December 2019

This position sits within the Forecast Performance Monitoring and Products team, within the Evaluation Section of the Forecast Department. To ensure its extended range and re-analysis products provide maximum benefit to society, ECMWF is exploring new ways in which post-processing can deliver added value for users. The successful candidate will test and explore a system to deliver improved probabilistic products for rainfall and temperature, for both extended range forecasts (in real-time), and for the ERA5 re-analysis (for 1950 to the present day). This will be achieved by applying a new downscaling technique (called “ecPoint”) to raw model output from ECMWF. The geographical focal point will be Italy, although global output will ultimately be provided.

Activities will have three main components: (i) research and development that optimises ecPoint calibration for the agricultural and land-use management needs for the target domain, (ii) adaptation of pre-existing “ecPoint-rainfall” post-processing to apply to the differently-structured extended range and re-analysis model output, (iii) creation of new post-processed “ecPoint-temperature” output and (iv) operationalization of the production chain on the CINECA HPC facility, building on ECMWF experience using this during MISTRAL, and supporting a sustainable future beyond the project end date of 30 September 2022. The post-holder will be expected to work closely with HIGHLANDER project partners in Italy to understand the needs of customers, and to tailor and blend the output accordingly.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Adapting ecPoint code that currently runs on the CINECA platform with shorter range forecasts, to use instead as input ECMWF’s ERA5 re-analysis and Extended Range forecasts
  • Clarifying the main meteorological requirements of HIGHLANDER customers in agriculture and land-use management and collaborating throughout the project to ensure these needs are being met
  • Modifying ecPoint code to make it applicable to post-processing of 2m temperatures as well as rainfall, accounting for the different physical factors that affect temperature forecast skill
  • Optimising the way in which different post-processed components (deterministic and ensemble) of different re-analyses are blended, or used in isolation, to create the best possible reconstruction of past rainfall and temperature records and focusing on the meteo-geographical needs of customers in the primary target domain (Italy)
  • Collaborating on designing and implementing ways to convey the post-processed outputs to key customers, to include gridded datasets and innovative, user-oriented graphical formats
  • Pursuing a “data governance” process, together with other ECMWF staff, to enable post-processed output to be routinely stored on ECMWF’s archiving system (MARS), in a GRIB format sanctioned by the World Meteorological Organisation
  • Fulfilling additional contractual requirements pertaining to the HIGHLANDER project itself, such as documentation and collaborative work
  • Some travel to Italy is expected as part of this function, to attend project meetings and to collaborate with project partners

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-PL 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: 1 April 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Length of contract: 25 months.


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