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Postdoctoral Appointee - Climate/Atmospheric/Computational Scientist

Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Closing date
Apr 14, 2023

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Job Details

What Your Job Will Be Like:

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Appointee with expertise and interest in large-scale atmospheric dynamics and variability to improve attribution of downstream climate impacts from localized sources such as volcanoes or large wildfires. As a climate scientist in Sandia’s Climate Systems department, you will be part of an interdisciplinary team to discover, understand, and communicate how climate hazards arising from coupled interactions within the climate system, and exposure to those hazards, contribute to climate-induced risks in society. The environmental, social, and economic disruptions from climate impacts challenge security at home and abroad motivating Sandia’s approach ( to climate change as a national and global security threat. This work lies at the interface of climate sciences, computational modeling, data analytics, machine learning, spatiotemporal statistics, optimization, and uncertainty quantification. Success in this position requires the desire to distill and communicate scientific information in societally relevant terms.

On any given day, the selected applicant may be called on to:

  • Support and advance climate systems projects including:

  • Earth system model simulation and analysis to improve attribution of climate impacts caused by localized sources like volcanoes or large wildfires (CLDERA ( )

  • Development of Earth system model components representing the atmosphere (E3SM ( ), land, ocean, and cryosphere (DEMSI ( / MALI ( ).

  • Understanding the changing Arctic (

  • Collaborate with highly motivated researchers on challenging research questions using innovative computational resources

  • Present your work within leading publication and conference venues

  • Address complex problems in support of broad-ranging mission areas

Qualifications We Require:

  • Recent PhD in an Atmospheric Science, Earth Sciences, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics, Computational Science, or a related field

  • Proven research experience, as evidenced by strong record of research publications and presentations

  • Experience in climate modeling and analysis and at least one of the following:

  • Running simulations with coupled Earth system models (e.g., E3SM, CESM, GFDL, GISS, others….)

  • Evaluation of climate model performance (performance as encompassed by any of the following: computational performance, predictive accuracy, sensitivity of parameterizations, in response to distinct forcings, or in comparison to observational records)

  • Analysis of climate datasets to establish constraints, mechanistic connections, or sensitivity of target quantities to sources of variability (natural or forced)

  • Analysis of climate variability and large-scale dynamics (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation / Polar Vortex, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, Brewer Dobson, Quasi-biennial oscillation)

  • Computer languages used for modeling and analysis (C, C++, Fortran, Python, Julia, R, Matlab)

  • Only U.S. Persons (U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees, or refugees) capable of obtaining and maintaining a DOE Q-level security clearance are eligible for consideration

Qualifications We Desire:

  • Expertise in the simulation and analysis of one or more of the following:

  • Stratospheric dynamics

  • Clouds and precipitation

  • Downscaling climate models and regional analysis

  • Internal variability, natural variability, forced variability, and/or inter-model variability

  • Ensemble analysis and coupled global climate models

  • Component model coupling (e.g., land-atmosphere, ocean-atmosphere, sea-ice-ocean) and its influence on dynamics

  • Development of components within climate models (e.g., new parameterizations, alternative computational schemes, …)

  • Familiarity with high performance computing environments

  • Proven ability to advance the state-of-the-art in climate science-related subject areas and/or related fields of study as is evidenced by original high-impact publications or a high h-index / other citation analysis

  • Ability to conduct self-directed research

  • Ability to work in multi-disciplinary research environments on problems comprising diverse application domains

  • Proven research community leadership through activities such as participation in student or professional organizations, outreach activities, etc.

  • Excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills

  • Desire to perform in a dynamic environment and demonstrated interest and/or experience in service to the nation

  • Ability to travel for business and research purposes

About Our Team:

The Climate Systems Department applies and advances climate modeling and analysis tools to support Sandia’s climate and global security missions. Department staff have a wide range of expertise in modeling complex earth systems and analyzing climate variability and large-scale dynamics to provide insight and understanding of climate change and its impacts on human and natural systems. The department leads Sandia’s climate attribution research program, elucidating the spatial-temporal chain of cascading processes that connect climate dynamics to climate impacts. Department staff leverage research expertise to understand and model interactions between the Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. Technical activities cover the spectrum of analytical climate science including computer simulation, data inversion, optimization, uncertainty quantification, algorithm development, downscaling, and impact analysis.

About Sandia:

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide

  • Extraordinary co-workers

  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world

  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities

  • Flexible work arrangements for many positions include 9/80 (work 80 hours every two weeks, with every other Friday off) and 4/10 (work 4 ten-hour days each week) compressed workweeks, part-time work, and telecommuting (a mix of onsite work and working from home)

  • Generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers. Learn more about Sandia at:*These benefits vary by job classification.

Security Clearance:

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment need to be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship. If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status and any other protected class under state or federal law.

Job ID: 688612


Sandia National Laboratories is one of the country's largest research and engineering laboratories in the nation, employing over 10,000 people at major facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Livermore, California. We make enduring contributions to secure our society against high consequence terrorist threats and national incidents through effective use of science, technology, and systems solutions. Please visit our website at

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