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Research Scientist in Physics-Based Global Prediction of the Upper Atmosphere

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C.
Salary commensurate with experience and skills.
Closing date
Mar 31, 2024

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Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Science Informatics, Space Physics
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The Space Science Division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC has created a new federal career position in high-altitude atmospheric modeling and prediction. The successful candidate will join a cross-disciplinary multi-institutional team recently tasked with developing and validating new global numerical prediction models of the neutral atmosphere extending to 500 km in altitude for atmospheric and space-weather applications. These new models will use state-of-the-science atmospheric dynamical cores, will include a comprehensive suite of fast physics necessary for short-term upper atmospheric prediction skill, and will respond realistically to forecast solar, geomagnetic, lower atmospheric and ionospheric drivers.

We seek a talented early- mid- or late-career scientist with research interests and expertise in the dynamics, physics and chemistry of the neutral upper atmosphere (altitudes ~80-500 km) to help NRL advance physics-based prediction of the thermosphere on time scales of 0-5 days. Relevant scientific aspects of this upper atmosphere prediction problem meriting research include (but are not limited to) multiscale dynamics and transport, deep vertical wave coupling, variable mass composition, molecular viscous drag and vertical transport, solar radiative heating, radiative cooling, and ion-neutral heating and drag. The mutual interaction of the thermosphere and ionosphere is another important research direction. The scientist’s research should lead to new or improved algorithms of key processes for implementation and testing within the Navy’s evolving upper atmospheric prediction codes, as run on latest high performance computer (HPC) systems. The researcher will collaborate widely with the upper atmospheric research community, with model development teams already in place at NRL and partner institutions, and with other NRL teams working on data assimilation for the deep atmosphere-ionosphere and on physics-based ionospheric prediction models. An eagerness to assume leadership roles to advance key parts of the model development program is encouraged.

A Ph.D. in atmospheric science, computational fluid dynamics, physics, applied mathematics, or a related discipline, is desired, with a demonstrated willingness and ability to research problems that improve short-term predictive skill in the upper atmosphere, including via upper atmospheric physics parameterizations and machine-learning methods. Programming skills in working with a modern highly-scalable Fortran code using up to 1 million processors on latest supercomputer resources are highly desirable, though lack of expertise in such areas is not disqualifying.

Further information on this position can be found at Federal positions at NRL require U.S. citizenship and an ability to pass requisite background checks. NRL provides telework options for approved employees. Interested candidates, including non-US permanent residents, must submit their resumes/application packages to: Questions regarding this position should be directed to Steve Eckermann (email: or Cory Barton (email: Applications will be accepted until 31 March 2024 or until the position is filled.  NRL is an equal opportunity employer.

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