Physical Oceanographer – British Antarctic Survey


The British Antarctic Survey is inviting applications for an experienced and independent observational physical oceanographer with an excellent academic profile. This will include a strong mathematical background and a track record of interpreting and analysing observational polar oceanographic datasets. Direct experience with ocean glider data and analysis of Southern Ocean or Weddell Sea observations would be considered a significant advantage. This is a 36 month full-time position for a suitably qualified postdoctoral researcher, working on two projects that are understanding the role of the Southern Ocean and Weddell Gyre in heat and carbon subduction. Specifically, the PDRA will contribute to the European Research Council (ERC)-funded project SO-CHIC (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded project ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon sequestration and Transports).

Both projects require extensive skills in data processing and analysis of high-resolution hydrographic and current velocity data from ocean gliders to understand the role of the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean’s uptake of heat and carbon. The postholder will need to demonstrate that they have training or experience in handling hydrographic datasets, and will ideally have been involved in autonomous vehicle campaigns. Within the SO-CHIC project (90% of time), the gliders will contribute to an array of autonomous vehicles that will quantify the development and destruction of wintertime mixed layers, and analyse the dissipation and entrainment rates associated with these processes. This will provide an improved mechanistic understanding of the mixed layer heat budgets within the Weddell Sea sector the Antarctic. Within ORCHESTRA (10% of time), ocean glider data will be used to understand the interaction of the circulation with seamounts in the Scotia Sea and the resultant water mass transformations that occur. Both projects will require the postholder to collaborate extensively with colleagues at the Universities of Oxford, Gothenburg and the Sorbronne.

Any successful candidate will need a strong mathematical background and a track-record of delivering high-quality scientific results and disseminating them in leading journals, and at national and international conferences.


The post is attached to the SO-CHIC (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate) and ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon sequestration and Transports) projects, both of which rely on novel physical oceanographic autonomous instrumentation to understand the role of the Southern Ocean in the uptake of heat and carbon and water mass transformations. The postholder will need to demonstrate previous experience in quality control, data analysis and publishing of observational physical oceanography datasets (ideally, though not necessarily from ocean gliders). Experience with handling microstructure data of ocean mixing would be a strong advantage. The post will primarily be involved in delivering time series of quality-controlled glider data including mixed layer depths and dissipation and entrainment rates, and analysing the data to assess the relative importance of different instability mechanisms driving wintertime mixed layer evolution. The postholder will also liaise with others in the project to feed the process-based understanding from the observational experiment into new parameterizations to be tested in ocean models, so an appreciation of that process would be an advantage.


PhD in ocean/climate dynamics/physics/maths or equivalent experience.



  1. Participate in fieldwork to deploy and recover underwater gliders in the Weddell Sea, during late 2020 and 2021.
  2. Quality control the physical oceanography data from these deployments and deliver time series of mixed layer depths and dissipation rates.
  3. Analyse data from both SO-CHIC and ORCHESTRA projects to understand both the processes driving mixed layer development and associated water mass transformations.
  4. Attend SO-CHIC/ORCHESTRA project meetings and engage with associated project partners to deliver the project objectives.
  5. Lead high-quality publications resulting from the projects.

Please quote reference: BAS 20/40
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 5th July 2020
Interviews are scheduled to be held: 27th July 2020

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job. We are open to a range of flexible working options, including job sharing, to support childcare and other caring responsibilities.

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