Associate Scientist I/II

Boulder, Colorado
May 14, 2019
Jun 13, 2019
Education Level
Relocation Cost

Where You Will Work:

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program dedicated to advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in the atmospheric and related sciences.  NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).


What You Will Do:

This position is in the Data Assimilation Research Section (DAReS) in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). CISL is responsible for large-scale computing and IT infrastructure at NCAR. DAReS develops and maintains the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART), a community tool for ensemble data assimilation. DAReS is a small, collaborative team of software engineers, data assimilation scientists, and physical scientists dedicated to creating and providing the best possible tools to users both inside and outside NCAR. DAReS staff collaborate closely with a diverse group of earth system scientists who are experts on confronting models with observations to make predictions.


In close collaboration with the rest of the DAReS team, this Associate Scientist (AS) will use DART to enhance and support on-going data assimilation (DA) research. The percentage of effort devoted to each of the specific duties outlined below will depend on the strengths of the candidate relative to the rest of the team, and may evolve over time.



Continually advances knowledge and scientific research using DART. This includes:

  • Infrastructure development: Write new and efficient interfaces that enable ensemble data assimilation research using different modeling frameworks, for example the National Water Model (Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-Hydro) and the Community Earth Systems Model (CESM) component models like the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM), the Community Land Model (CLM) and CICE (Sea Ice Model).
  • Scientific Assessment: Run realistic or synthetic data assimilation experiments and evaluate the quality of the results. This involves developing and testing state-of-the-art DA diagnostic tools.
  • Scientific Research: Support the implementation and testing of newly developed data assimilation algorithms such as hybrid ensemble and variational techniques. May collaborate with other labs across and outside NCAR.
  • Documentation and Outreach: Help document new results and algorithms as peer-reviewed journal publications. May participate in relevant scientific conferences and present DA research. Assist other DAReS members to prepare and teach the DART tutorial to the scientific user community.


What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience:

  • I Level: Bachelor's degree in geophysical science or a relevant mathematical or computer science.
  • II Level: Bachelor's degree in geophysical science or a relevant mathematical or computer science. At least 2-3 years of experience as an Associate Scientist I or equivalent position in earth and/or climate research. A master’s degree is desirable (but not required).

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

I & II Level:

  • Strong skills in working effectively with people of diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as a team member.
  • Ability to write and understand code in a programming language (e.g., Fortran, Python, Matlab).
  • Knowledge and ability to learn code management practices (preferably Git/GitHub).
  • Basic knowledge of data assimilation research desirable.
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Basic experience working with geophysical models.

II Level:

  • Ability to author technical reports and publications and present papers at conferences.
  • Experience in analyzing model predictions and verification statistics.
  • Experience in processing datasets of different formats (e.g. ASCII, NetCDF).
  • May participate in teamwork across organizational boundaries.
  • Ability to complete tasks on schedule with moderate supervision.
  • May supervise and mentor students.
  • Willingness and ability to travel.


Applicant Notes:

Note that while the position description details both minimum requirements as well as desired skills and experience, we want to remind applicants that you do not need to have all the desired skills and experience to be considered for this role. If you have the passion for the work along with experience in research-oriented science, you are encouraged to apply.


What’s in it for You:

  • Compensation
  • PTO
  • Paid Holidays
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Benefits (Medical, Dental, Vision)
  • Retirement Plan
  • And more!


EEO/AAP Statement:

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy.


Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.