University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Postdoctoral Fellow I - Atmospheric environment modeling, mesoscale to microscale coupling, wildland fire modeling in Boulder, Colorado

Postdoctoral Fellow I - Atmospheric environment modeling, mesoscale to microscale coupling, wildland fire modeling

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Job Description

Job Title: Post-Doctoral Fellow I

Location: Boulder, Co

Type:Full-time, Exempt

Position Term: 2 – Year Term

Application Deadline:

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

Relocation:No relocation package is offered for this position.

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

Where You Will Work:

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).

The Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) conducts directed research that contributes to the fundamental understanding of the atmosphere and related physical, biological, and social systems; to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the scientific community, and to develop and transfer knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth.

The primary goal of the Weather Systems and Assessment Program (WSAP) is to identify, explore, develop, and implement advanced weather decision support systems for new and emerging user sectors, and develop advanced user-oriented measures of performance and impact.

What You Will Do:

This is a new, full-time, 2-year term position. The position will conduct research on the cross-scale coupling between atmospheric mesoscale and microscale flows, and on wildland fire and atmospheric environment modeling. For this purpose, the hire will utilize the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. In addition to carrying out mesoscale simulations with WRF the hire will also use WRF-Fire and WRF-large-eddy simulation (WRF-LES) models. The research will include improving and assessing new components of the WRF-Fire model as well as the new three-dimensional planetary boundary layer parameterization (3D PBL) implemented in WRF. The assessment of new WRF-Fire model components will be based on the comparison with observations from wildland fires observed during recent years in Colorado. The assessment of mesoscale to microscale coupled simulations will be based on a range of field studies, but primarily focused on the observations from the Wind Forecast Improvement 2 project. The assessment of the new 3D PBL parameterization will also include analysis of high-resolution LES over complex terrain.


  • Develop methods to predict wildland spot fires in the WRF-Fire model. Implement firebrand creation dependent on fuel and fire characteristics. Implement firebrand transport and deposition. Implement spot fire ignition depending on local fuel characteristics.

  • Evaluate new spot-fire functionality implemented in WRF-Fire based on available wildland fire observations. Assess performance of WRF-Fire through comparison of wildland fire simulations based on wildland fires observed in Colorado between 2016 and 2018.

  • Carry out analysis of the new 3D PBL parameterization implemented in WRF based on high-resolution mesoscale simulations over complex terrain. As needed, develop improvements based on the analysis. Contribute to development of coupling methods for mesoscale to microscale coupling simulations. Perform coupled mesoscale to microscale simulations using WRF-LES to use LES output for 3D PBL parameter tuning.

  • Comprehensively evaluate the 3D PBL parameterization and mesoscale to microscale coupling in WRF. This will require coordination with the collaborators form the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other Department of Energy laboratories involved in this project. The validation will use the methodology developed by the NCAR team.

  • Communicate research results through publication in peer-reviewed journals, meeting proceedings, and presentations at scientific meetings.

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience:

  • D. degree in atmospheric sciences with expertise in numerical weather prediction models, physical parameterization, and model development.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Skill in numerical weather prediction, with focus on high-resolution mesoscale simulations.

  • Skill in analyzing numerical weather prediction model results.

  • Skill in analysis, development, and implementation of physics parameterization in numerical weather prediction models.

  • In-depth knowledge of boundary layer meteorology.

  • Ability to manage and manipulate large, computationally intensive simulations on high performance computing platforms.

  • Familiarity with the Weather Research and Forecasting model.

  • Familiarity with UNIX, Fortran, NetCDF, Python, and high performance computing.

  • Ability to interact productively with model developers at NCAR and scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other Department of Energy laboratories.

  • Ability to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals.

  • Strong skills in written and oral communication of research results, including in an interdisciplinary context.

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

Position Type


Appointment Type

Term Full-Time (T1)