ECMWF: Scientist to work on Modelling Cryosphere Processes

ECMWF, Shinfield Park, UK
Closing date: 12 October 2020

The position is in the Earth System Modelling Section of the Research Department. The Scientist will work in the Coupled Processes team, in close collaboration with the Coupled Assimilation team and with the Physical Processes team. The role of this position is to improve the representation of near-surface weather parameters in cold conditions by maintaining and further developing the representation of the cryosphere in ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System. More specifically, the position will develop an improved coupling between the atmosphere and the snow over land and sea-ice surfaces and improve the assimilation of (satellite) observations over these surfaces by addressing uncertainty in the Earth surface representation and contributing to ECMWF’s all-sky, all-surface data assimilation strategy.

The Scientist will work on the representation of cryosphere processes over land (in both continental and polar regions) and over (lake/sea) ice surfaces and identify model errors and parametrization improvements with the aid of in-situ, satellite-based Earth observations combined with targeted diagnostics and numerical experimentation. The results will be tested in coupled forecasts and in ECMWF’s data assimilation framework with the aim of enhancing forecast skill both through an improved model, and through better use of existing microwave and infrared satellite observations in (re-)analyses.

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Maintaining and further developing the cryosphere representation (snow, glaciers, soil-freezing, atmosphere-snow-ice coupling) in ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) for use in forecast and assimilation
  • Evaluating the simulated thermodynamic coupling, and improving the representation of surface fluxes, over glaciers, ice-sheets, permafrost, sea and lake ice with particular focus on extreme events prediction
  • Optimising the interaction of atmosphere and enhanced cryosphere processes in ensemble forecasts and data assimilation (e.g. 4D-Var, spread calibration, parameter estimation)
  • Developing observation operators to allow direct comparison to observations sensitive to snow cover (e.g. microwave radiances), both to validate cryospheric aspects of the forecast model and to prepare for future direct radiance assimilation
  • Identifying and exploring cryosphere-adapted data assimilation methodologies (e.g. forward operators, ensemble and variational upgrades, TL/AD)
  • Managing project deliverables relevant to cold processes research (e.g. in the framework of the Polar Prediction Project) and contributing to publications and reporting

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 up to £60,590.64 net of tax. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-C 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: 1 st January 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Length of contract: Four years, with the possibility of a further contract.


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