Scientist to work on boundary layer, turbulence and drag processes
Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany

Job reference: VN21-55

Location: Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany

Deadline for applications: 16/12/2021

Publication date: 10/11/2021

Salary and Grade: Grade A2: £62,166.00 or EUR 75,178.92 basic salary, net of tax + other benefits

Contract type: STF-C

Department: Research

Contract Duration: Four years, with possibility of further contract


ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. It is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1975 by a group of European nations and is today supported by 34 Member and Co-operating States, mostly in Europe. The Centre’s mission is to serve and support its Member and Co-operating States and the wider community by developing and providing world-leading global numerical weather prediction. ECMWF functions as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions and holds one of the largest meteorological archives in the world. The success of its activities relies primarily on the talent of its scientists, strong partnerships with its Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies such as machine learning across its operations. 

Over the years, ECMWF has also developed a strong partnership with the European Union, and for the past seven years has been an entrusted entity for the implementation and operation of the Climate and the Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the EU Copernicus Programme, as well as a contributor to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The collaboration does not stop there and includes other areas of work, including High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools that enable ECMWF to extend its provision of data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring.

ECMWF has recently become a multi-site organisation, with its headquarters based since its creation in Reading, UK, its new data centre in Bologna, Italy, and new offices in Bonn, Germany.

For details, see

Summary of the role

The position is in the Earth System Modelling Section of the Research Department. The Scientist will work in the Physical Processes team and report to the Physical Processes Team Leader but they will closely collaborate with the Coupled Processes, Numerics and Model Uncertainty teams. The role of this position is to improve the representation of near-surface weather and large-scale circulation in ECMWF operational forecasts from days to seasons ahead, by maintaining and further developing the representation of the boundary layer and of turbulent mixing in ECMWF’s Integrated Forecasting System (IFS). It will also include monitoring the performance and adapting, as necessary, the turbulent orographic drag and low-level blocking and gravity-wave drag parametrizations. Finally, the Scientist will also contribute to improving the land surface and ocean-wave-sea-ice coupling with the atmosphere, by focusing on the representation of surface heat, moisture and momentum fluxes.

The Scientist will work on the representation of turbulence and drag processes and identify model errors and parametrization improvements with the aid of in-situ observations and high-resolution simulations combined with targeted diagnostics and numerical experimentation. The results will be tested in coupled (ensemble) forecasts and in ECMWF’s data assimilation framework with the aim of enhancing forecast skill across timescales (hours to seasons) and resolutions (km to tens of km).

Main duties and key responsibilities

  • Maintaining and further developing the representation of parametrized turbulent fluxes and drag processes in ECMWF’s IFS, particularly with a view of increasing horizontal resolution towards km-scale in the next years
  • Contributing to improving the land-atmosphere and the ocean-waves-sea-ice-atmosphere coupling, and the forecasts of near-surface weather parameters, together with colleagues in the Coupled Processes Team
  • Conducting coupled (ensemble) forecasts (across a range of timescales and in the ECMWF data assimilation framework) and evaluating predictive skill using NWP metrics
  • Evaluating the representation of the boundary layer and the momentum budget using near-surface meteorological observations and/or high-resolution simulations, and identifying systematic errors related to the representation of turbulence and drag processes

Personal attributes

  • Very strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively with internal and external experts, but also able to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving skills and attention to detail, with a proactive continuous improvement approach
  • Dedication, passion and enthusiasm to succeed both individually and across teams of developers
  • Active listener who seeks and respects the views of others
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines

Education, experience, knowledge and skills (including language)

  • A university degree (EQF Level 6) in a physical, mathematical or environmental science
  • A PhD is desirable but not essential
  • Professional experience in meteorology, geosciences, or a related subject, ideally with a background in boundary layer and/or numerical modelling
  • Experience with developing and maintaining large scientific codes
  • Experience in handling and statistical analysis of large observational and modelling datasets
  • Very good programming and scripting skills
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English
  • A good knowledge of one of the Centre’s other working languages (French or Gereman) would be an advantage

Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A2 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be £62,166.00 or EUR 75,178.92 net of tax. ECMWF also offers a generous benefits package, including a flexible teleworking policy. The position is assigned to the employment category STF-C as defined in the ECMWF Staff Regulations. Full details of salary scales and allowances available on the ECMWF website at, including the ECMWF Staff Regulations and the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date: As soon as possible

Length of contract: Four years with the possibility of a further contract.

Location: There is a strong preference for the position to be based at ECMWF's duty station in Reading, UK. However, for the right candidate, ECMWF will consider the position being based in Bonn. Germany.

As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows flexibility to staff to mix office working and teleworking.

Successful applicants and members of their family forming part of their households will be exempt from immigration restrictions.

Interviews by videoconference (via Teams ) are expected to take place in January 2022.

Who can apply

Applicants are invited to complete the online application form by clicking on the apply button.

At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion.

Applications are invited from nationals from ECMWF Member States and Co‑operating States, listed below:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Georgia will become a Co operating State from 01.12.21.

Applications from nationals from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases.


The closing date for this job has now passed.