Postdoctoral Fellow, Pacific Upwelling and Mixing Physics – NCAR

Job Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Location: Boulder, CO
Type: Full-time
Position Term: 2-years, with possibility of extension
 Application Deadline:

This position will be posted until September 28, 2018 or until a sufficient number of applications have been received. Thereafter, applications will be reviewed on an as-needed basis.

Relocation assistance is available for this position.

Work Authorization:
UCAR/NCAR will sponsor a work visa to fill this position.

 Who We Are:
Located in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program dedicated to advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in the atmospheric and related sciences.  NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

What You Will Do:
We invite applications for two postdoctoral fellows to conduct fundamental, process-oriented research as part of NCAR’s pre-field contribution to the Pacific Upwelling and Mixing Physics (PUMP) study, which is part of the NOAA Climate Variability and Predictability Program.  PUMP is directed at the complex of interacting oceanic processes that connect the thermocline to the surface in the equatorial Pacific cold tongue.

The goals of the present work are, first, to investigate dynamical processes in the Pacific Equatorial Cold Tongue in a hierarchy of numerical models, and second to characterize the space- and time-scales and the dynamics of upwelling and its process-level connection to mixing. The results of these studies will contribute to the design of planned in situ process studies of equatorial physics, and in turn to the redesign of the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS).

To this end, we seek applicants who can contribute in two ways: 1) by analyzing existing model output from global-scale simulations, informed by existing observations, and 2) by developing, running and analyzing models at the regional and/or LES scales. The project involves close collaboration between modelers and observationalists at NCAR (Daniel Whitt, Scott Bachman, William Large, Frank Bryan), the University of Washington (LuAnne Thompson, Ren-Chieh Lien), and the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (William Kessler). We encourage applicants with observational and/or modeling experience and interests to apply.

 Possible specific research topics may include:

  • Dynamics and properties of horizontal divergence, upwelling, and meridional circulations near the Pacific Equatorial Cold Tongue (ECT). Relationships between upwelling and surface forcing across timescales from synoptic to inter-annual. Decomposing adiabatic and diabatic components of the vertical velocity. Implications for the heat budget of the ECT.
  • Dynamics and properties of shear, stratification, turbulence and mixing near the ECT. Sensitivity to larger scale oceanic and atmospheric variability, e.g. due to the diurnal cycle or passing tropical instability waves. Coupling between turbulent mixing and larger-scale equatorial ocean circulations. Turbulence parameterization in ocean models.


  • Identify significant science questions within the context of the overall program objectives,
  • Conduct analysis and/or numerical simulations to address the science questions, and
  • Publish the results in peer-reviewed literature and otherwise communicate results to the collaborators and broader scientific community.

Additionally, these positions come with unique opportunities to:

  • Collaborate with a broader NOAA-funded team including modelers and observationalists, Use process model results to participate in the design of observational process studies, and
  • Develop and test physics-based parameterizations for ocean and Earth system models.
    The results of this work will contribute refinements to the forthcoming redesign of the Tropical Pacific Observing System and lay the foundation for improving predictability of the Pacific climate system on seasonal to decadal timescales.  

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience:

  • A PhD in physical oceanography or other relevant field in science, engineering, or mathematics.
  • Research experience in a relevant field with contributions to refereed journal articles.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of upper-ocean physics demonstrated in refereed journal articles.
  • Experience analyzing data from observational process studies of upper ocean physics and/or  analyzing and configuring ocean model simulations.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, especially for scientific publications.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

Applicant Notes:

In order to be considered for this position, please submit:

  • Cover Letter
  • CV
  • Research Statement
  • Names of 3 references

What’s In It for You:

  • Compensation
  • PTO
  • Paid Holidays
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Benefits (Medical, Dental, Vision)
  • Retirement Plan
  • And more!

EEO/AAP Statement:

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy.

Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.

Job Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Learn more and apply


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