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Research Scientist on Satellite Data Assimilation

College Park, Maryland
Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Sep 24, 2022

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Atmospheric Sciences
Career Level
Any Experience Level Considered
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The University of Maryland/Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies (UMD/CISESS) are looking for a scientist to collaborate with the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to evaluate the expected impact of NOAA’s future satellite microwave sounding systems. NOAA is currently considering instruments and constellation options for its next generation of operational weather satellites. These weather satellites are critical for numerical weather prediction (NWP), and passive microwave sounders have among the largest impact on whether forecasts. A key aspect is hence to ensure that instrument and constellation design choices for the next generation systems maintain and further advance this impact, and to establish requirements for instrument design and orbit configurations.

The successful candidate will use the ECMWF data assimilation system to simulate the expected impact of microwave sounding missions that are currently under consideration at NOAA. An ensemble approach will be adopted to estimate the expected reduction in the forecast uncertainty. The project builds on established methods that have previously been used for other current and future satellite systems (e.g., Aeolus, radio occultation, or microwave sounding). The new data will be assimilated in all-sky conditions, in line with the current use of microwave sounding radiances in the operational ECMWF assimilation system. There will be close collaboration with NOAA and CISESS scientists on specifying the instrument and orbit constellations to consider.

As a visiting scientist from UMD/CISESS, the incumbent will spend extended periods of time, up to one year, at ECMWF in Reading, UK. The position is a unique opportunity to work with the worlds’ leading global data assimilation system and to contribute to shaping the future of the US satellite sounding systems.



  • Implement the capability to simulate and assimilate the new satellite data in the ECMWF forecasting system, adapting operationally used state-of-the-art approaches
  • Configure the ECMWF system to use an ensemble approach to investigate the expected impact from the new satellite data
  • Simulate the new observations and conduct ensemble impact evaluations
  • Liaise with NOAA and CISESS scientist regarding instrument and constellation specifications
  • Document and present results as required


Qualifications and Required Experience/Skills:

  • An advanced university degree in Physics, Maths, Meteorology or related fields, ideally to PhD level, or equivalent proven research experience
  • Relevant work experience, ideally covering 3 years
  • Familiarity with satellite data analysis, numerical weather prediction, and/or data assimilation is desirable
  • Strong computing skills are required, obtained in a Unix/Linux environment, and ideally including Fortran/C++ coding, as well as analysis tools such as Python, IDL, R
  • Good interpersonal and team working skills, along with strengths in scientific analysis, synthesis and presentation
  • US citizenship  is mandatory

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