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CIRES/NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory Post-Doctoral Associate on Modeling Atmospheric Methane and its Isotopes

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

This position is for a Postdoctoral Associate with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, and the Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases (CCGG) division of NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory. We are seeking a post-doctoral candidate to implement methane and its isotopologues, both δ¹³C-CH₄ and δD-CH₄, in a global atmospheric model, with the end goals of (1) Improving our understanding of the methane budget from atmospheric measurements of CH₄, δ¹³C-CH₄ and δD-CH₄, and (2) Designing future atmospheric measurement networks for these tracers.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

CIRES is an internationally recognized leader in innovative environmental science and research and is located at the University of Colorado Boulder. At CIRES, more than 950 environmental science professionals work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES has partnered with NOAA since 1967, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, solid Earth sciences, and more. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory

The Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases (CCGG) division of NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML) has been operating a cooperative global network of atmospheric CH₄ measurements since 1983. These measurements are the most fundamental means of tracking long-term changes in global CH₄ abundance and emissions. A subset of the air samples that provide these CH₄ measurements are also analyzed for isotopologues of CH₄, namely δ¹³C-CH₄ and δD-CH₄, in collaboration with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado Boulder. These measurements are difficult but provide additional information about methane sources that traditional CH₄ measurements do not.

In previous work, GML scientists and collaborators implemented CH₄ and δ¹³C-CH₄ in the 3D tracer transport model TM5 to attribute the post-2006 growth in atmospheric methane to different source sectors. The post-doctoral candidate will incorporate δD-CH₄ in this model to further investigate the role of atmospheric sinks, and the relative contribution of natural versus anthropogenic microbial emissions, to the post-2006 CH₄ growth. The candidate will run OSSEs to determine the optimal sampling strategy for making CH₄, δ¹³C-CH₄ and δD-CH₄ measurements in the future that provide the best information to decipher the global methane budget.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Carry out atmospheric transport simulations of methane and its isotopologues under various emission scenarios to determine which scenarios are consistent with atmospheric measurements over years to decades.
  • Perform observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) to design a future sampling network that will maximize the information derived from a limited number of methane and isotopologue measurements.
  • Collaborate with scientists in NOAA, CIRES, INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) and other partner organizations to synthesize research results into meaningful scientific conclusions.
  • Lead and contribute to the publication of research results in the peer-reviewed literature.
  • Present research findings at national and international conferences.

What You Should Know

  • This is a 3-year appointment.
  • The targeted start date for this appointment is no later than January 1, 2024.
  • This position will be rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder, but will be located at the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO.
  • If you are selected for this position you will be required to pass a federal laboratory background clearance for site access. Non-US citizens without green cards may have limited building access, and require an escort in the building.

What We Can Offer

  • CIRES offers a generous compensation package.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $65,000- $71,000.
  • Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • Relocation funds are available following CIRES and the University of Colorado’s relocation processes and procedures.
  • This position offers a hybrid work environment with both on-site and remote work hours.
  • CIRES and the University of Colorado Boulder offer a robust training curriculum, opportunities for professional development and a Mentorship Program.
  • Boulder is a vibrant community with access to mountain parks, dog parks, miles of trails, rivers, lakes, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, theaters, museums, and sports venues. Boulder was recently ranked as one of the top places to live in the U.S. by U.S. News.
  • As an employee at CU Boulder, you receive a pass allowing free access to the regional public transit system, which is an outstanding network of buses and light rail systems that provide service within Boulder and connect to Denver, the Denver airport, and surrounding communities.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be effective. Be inclusive. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A Ph.D. in geoscience or a related discipline.
  • Experience in at least one compiled programming language (Fortran, C/C++) and one scripting language (Python/R/MATLAB).
  • Experience in manipulating and visualizing geoscientific datasets.
  • Experience in scientific data analysis for peer-review publications.

What You Will Need

  • A demonstrated ability to work independently and in an inclusive team environment.
  • Meticulousness, attention to details, and curiosity about why and how things work.

What We Would Like You to Have

We invite applicants to apply even if they do not have the preferred skills and experience outlined in this section. If you meet the minimum qualifications and have passion for the work, you are encouraged to apply. We encourage on-the-job training for any additional skills or knowledge that become relevant to the position.

  • Knowledge of basic linear algebra and ordinary differential equations greatly preferred.
  • Experience in a combination of Fortran and Python is greatly preferred, but other experiences will be considered.
  • Experience in running TM5 or any other atmospheric tracer transport model preferred.
  • Experience with inverse modeling and data assimilation preferred.
  • Experience on Unix or Unix-like shell environments.
  • Experience in running models on high performance computing platforms.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.

Although not required at the time of application, please be ready to submit information for 3 professional references (must include at least 1 supervisor). If you are identified as a finalist for this role, you will be asked to invite your references to complete a SkillSurvey questionnaire on your behalf. SkillSurvey is an online reference check solution. All information is kept confidential and shared only with the search committee members.

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

This position will remain open until finalists have been identified.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Xin Lan

Posting Contact Email: