Postdoctoral Scholar: Tropical Pacific Air-Sea Interaction – University of Washington


The Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies at the University of Washington is seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar focused on understanding processes within the tropical ocean-atmosphere interface, including the upper ocean and lower atmosphere. The scholar will focus on using moored buoy and unmanned surface vehicle (USV) data collected throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean since 2017 and contribute to the planning of new USV missions in support of upcoming process study operations planned for 2026. We are especially interested in candidates who have experience in tropical boundary layer processes in the vicinity of sea surface temperature fronts, upper ocean mixed layer and/or lower atmospheric boundary layer processes and their representation in high resolution ocean models, and/or optimizing the use of ocean-atmosphere data sets in fully coupled data assimilation algorithms.

Project Summary

The tropical Pacific is a key area within National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) ocean observing system. Ocean-atmosphere interactions in the tropical Pacific, such those as associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), can lead to atmospheric teleconnections affecting weather and climate around the world. The ocean influences weather and climate primarily through air-sea heat fluxes, with both the radiative and turbulent heat fluxes playing critical roles in the energy and water cycles. The “Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS)-2020” project (, tasked with reimaging the TPOS, envisioned an integrated system that would be more robust, multifunctional, and that would better serve operational and research needs. Within the integrated system, USVs are now being tested for their ability to address many of the gaps identified by TPOS-2020. Through pilot studies funded by NOAA OAR Global Ocean Monitoring and Observing (GOMO) and NOAA OMAO, NOAA OAR Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and CICOES partners have overseen multiple Saildrone, Inc. USV (“saildrone”) missions to test the use of USVs within an integrated TPOS. The Postdoctoral Scholar has much leeway in designing a project that interests them but must also be relevant to NOAA’s Precipitation Grand Challenge ( and GOMO ( strategic objectives.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Perform analyses of USV and moored buoy data that extend existing studies and/or explore new areas related to the ocean-atmosphere interface.
  • Contribute to mission planning for upcoming process studies in the tropical Pacific using USVs.
  • Communicate results in group meetings, conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.


Postdoctoral Scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website. 

University of Washington postdoctoral scholarship appointments are for a temporary, defined period not to exceed five years/60 months, including any previous postdoctoral experience. 

Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must have earned a doctorate in atmospheric science or physical oceanography (or a closely related field) at the time of appointment.


It is preferred that candidates have one or more of the following qualifications: experience using in situ atmospheric boundary layer and/or upper ocean observations to explore processes related to ocean-atmosphere interactions; experience with multiscale variability; a strong programming background (ideally including experience with matlab or python); strong verbal and written communication skills.

The position is a twelve-month appointment at 100% FTE with the opportunity to extend to a second year subject to approval and availability of funding. A Postdoctoral Scholar is an academic appointment that requires evidence of a conferred PhD by the appointment start date.


The salary range is between $65,508 and $71,000 per year, commensurate with experience and qualifications, or as mandated by a U.S. Department of Labor prevailing wage determination. Other compensation associated with this position may include a moving allowance.

Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Anticipated start date is October 1, 2023.

Application Instructions


To apply, please submit the following application materials:

  • A cover letter outlining current research accomplishments, a statement of interest, and a statement of how your experience meets the desired qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Names and contact information for two professional references.

Consideration of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. For questions about the position, please contact Yolande Serra ( and Meghan Cronin ( by email.

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