Postdoctoral Fellow - Physical Oceanography

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island
Closing date
Oct 31, 2021

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Ocean Science
Career Level
Education Level
Associates Degree

Job Details

Position is full-time calendar year, limited to 08/31/2022 with anticipated renewal.

We seek to hire a postdoc to work collaboratively with oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and at the US Naval Research Laboratory- Stennis Spaceflight Center (NRL-SSC) to improve numerical forecasting of the Gulf of Mexico and its Loop Current System.

Processes in the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and Loop Current Eddies as they encounter bottom topography (summarized in Hamilton et al., 2016, and Donohue et al., 2016, both in Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans) drive essentially all strong subtidal current variability from sea surface to sea floor (depths 3000-4000m).  Close dynamical analogies exist to atmospheric storm systems and jet stream meanders interacting with Earth’s topography.

A key gap exists in forecasting of ocean currents and thermal structure: Almost all input data for model assimilation are from near-surface measurements. This arises historically because until recently in the ocean only surface data have been available in near real time. In contrast, in the atmosphere observational profiles of temperature, density, and wind vectors are available through the full air column on a grid of sites at suitable spatial and temporal resolution.

Cost-effective ways now exist to report subsurface observations in near real time, and the methods are particularly applicable in marginal seas such as the Gulf of Mexico. Subsurface ocean data observations assimilated into predictive numerical models have the potential to fundamentally improve and extend forecasting skill for ocean currents and thermal structure.


Develop methods to use deep current and bottom pressure field observations to extend forecasts of the strong deep current systems that exist in the Gulf. Quantify the success of forecasts against commonly-used metrics for the upper ocean and develop new useful metrics to judge the accuracy of forecasted currents throughout the water column. Use these metrics to test the relative contributions of surface and deep subsurface currents and pressure data in various locations in the Gulf of Mexico toward extending ocean forecasts. Engage with national and international investigators, and participate in conference and workshop travel. May have opportunities for training to assist in grant writing. Publish reports or scientific journal articles on the findings collaboratively with oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island and at the US Naval Research Laboratory – Stennis Spaceflight Center.

Visit the URI jobs website at to apply and view complete details for posting (SF01145). 

The search will remain open until the position has been filled. First consideration will be given to applications received by October 25, 2021. Second consideration may be given to applications received by November 22, 2021. Applications received subsequent to second consideration date (November 22, 2021) may not be given full consideration.


The University of Rhode Island is an AA/EEOD employer. 
Women, persons of color, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities, and members of other protected groups are encouraged to apply.


The University of Rhode Island is the State’s public learner-centered research university. We are a community joined in a common quest for knowledge. The University is committed to enriching the lives of its students through its land, sea, and urban grant traditions. URI is the only public institution in Rhode Island offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the distinctive educational opportunities of a major research university.

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