Project Scientist II / Research Scientist

Greenbelt, Maryland
Aug 06, 2020
Sep 05, 2020
Career Level
Education Level
Relocation Cost

What You Will Do:

This position is under the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) and provides support for the enhancement of the Joint Effort for Data assimilation Integration (JEDI) project. The JCSDA JEDI project is tasked with advancing the state-of-the-art research in data assimilation.

The JCSDA/JEDI project will develop data assimilation (DA) capabilities for atmospheric aerosols and trace gases.  This position will focus on prioritization and development of the novel techniques needed to assimilate atmospheric composition observations in the JEDI framework.  This includes developing methods to exploit model information on vertical structure and aerosol speciation, given the sparse vertical information content offered by the observations, as well as joint parameter-state estimation to account for uncertainties in transport, emissions, and production/loss processes.  Methods will be developed to provide optimal techniques for multi-variate constituent assimilation, that include the uncertainties in emissions and sub-grid transport, the cross-correlations of different species being emitted from various types of sources, and the relatively robust constraints imposed by the accuracy of synoptic and mesoscale features in present-day meteorological analyses.  Concepts will be tested using the NASA GEOS-CF constituent data assimilation systems as well as emerging systems in NOAA EMC and elsewhere. 

The incumbent will engage with Joint Effort for Data assimilation Integration (JEDI) at the JCSDA associated with developments in data assimilation techniques.

This position will be located in the GMAO at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.  


  • Build data assimilation capability for atmospheric constituents in the JCSDA data assimilation systems, including emissions uncertainty, inter-constituent correlations, and observational uncertainty, as well as other necessary procedures for data assimilation.
  • Participates and or leads the JCSDA activities in constituent assimilation, including pioneering new approaches to meet the needs of the JCSDA partners and diverse users (aerosols, reactive chemical species, long-lived greenhouse gases).
  • Conduct independent research to optimize the use of NASA and other constituent observations in data assimilation and to devise comprehensive testing systems and evaluation metrics to assess the quality of results.
  • Contributes to project reports. Regular authorship of scientific/resource publications; presentation of results at national or international scientific conferences is expected.
  • Other miscellaneous activities.

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience

  • Applicants should have expertise in data assimilation. Experience of hyperspectral radiance data is desirable but not required. Knowledge and experience of the Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) or similar radiative transfer models are preferred. Technical skills include proficiency in programming on high-performance computers and familiarity with operational-quality data systems.

For Project Scientist II:

  • Ph.D. in a relevant science, and at least three years of experience in the scientific field of specialization; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For Research Scientist:

  • Ph.D. in a relevant science, and at least ten years of experience in the scientific field of specialization; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

For Project Scientist II:

  • Advanced knowledge of atmospheric composition (aerosols and/or gaseous species), emissions processes, and constituent data assimilation. 
  • Thorough knowledge and experience of constituent remote sensing and of atmospheric composition modeling. 
  • Strong skills in programming (Fortran 90+, C++, etc) and scripting (e.g., Python). 
  • Ability to work as a part of a larger group using a modern code management framework (Git, Continuous Integration / Agile programming methods, test-driven development, extreme programming, etc.)
  • Highly collaborative, organized, and detail-oriented. Ability to be a productive member of a research team with good interpersonal skills
  • Regularly serves as a Co-Principal Investigator.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with an emphasis in technical communication and the ability to write proposals.
  • May author scientific reports and referred publications and give presentations at scientific meetings.

For Research Scientist:

In addition to the requirements for a Project Scientist II:

  • Expert knowledge of atmospheric composition (aerosols and/or gaseous species), emissions processes, and constituent data assimilation. 
  • Regularly serves as a Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator.
  • Often develops proposals and negotiates with funding agencies.
  • Authors scientific reports and refereed publications and gives presentations at scientific meetings.

Desired knowledge, skills, abilities:

  • Knowledge and experience of satellite radiance data assimilation and associated working areas (e.g., QC, bias correction, thinning, etc). Familiar with data assimilation system(s) (e.g., GSI, WRFDA, JEDI, etc)

Applicant Notes:

  • This position is subject to work location requirements for obtaining access to facilities and research systems. These requirements may include a combination of national security checks, credit checks, fingerprinting, or other security clearance requirements.  Applicants must be able to obtain unescorted physical access to NASA facilities and obtain computational accounts on NASA’s HPC resources.
  • An Inclusion Statement will be required for all applicants advancing to an in-person interview. If requested, this statement should address past efforts, as well as future vision and plans to advocate for and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization and/or field of work.
  • Please note - Research Scientist will only be moved into a Project Scientist III position through a committee review process.
  • A pre-employment screening is conducted in conjunction with an offer for employment. This screening may involve verifying or reviewing any of the following relevant information: restricted parties screening, employment verification, performance records of internal candidates, education verification, reference checks, verification of professional licenses, certifications, and Motor Vehicle Records.  UCAR complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).