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CIRES/NOAA PSL Post-Doctoral Associates in Diagnosing ENSO Teleconnections in Observations and Models

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colorado is seeking two post-doctoral associates to work at the NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL).

The Post-Doctoral Associates will examine issues involving El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) teleconnections, including the synoptic evolution of the “atmospheric bridge” (the mechanism through which ENSO communicates with the North Pacific Ocean) the ENSO “westward shift” in climate models, and its impact on ENSO teleconnections, and how both may bear upon seasonal climate forecasts.

The two hires will perform research in the following areas:
  1. Diagnosis of the atmospheric bridge on synoptic (i.e., weather) time scales, including its impact upon predictability. This research will examine how ENSO drives atmospheric and oceanic anomalies in the North Pacific on synoptic time scales, using both model and observational datasets. Key components of this analysis may include an assessment of model fidelity in capturing this process and an evaluation of atmospheric bridge synoptic impacts on the prediction of anomalies along the west coast of North America. Possible bridge feedbacks on the atmosphere may also be explored.
  2. Diagnosis of the causes and impacts of the “westward shift” model error in ENSO simulation and prediction. This research will examine the development of the westward ENSO model error in the tropics and its subsequent impact upon ENSO global teleconnections, both observed and predicted, including impacts upon land precipitation and coastal marine conditions. This may include an analysis of observational and model heat budgets in the western tropical Pacific, diagnosis of the atmospheric dynamical response to ENSO simulation errors within a hierarchy of models, and evaluation of the relationship between these ENSO errors and the development of model forecast error.
This is a joint project, so specific research topics will depend upon candidates’ qualifications and interests. The candidates need not be specialists in all aspects of the problem but should be willing to learn and to show initiative.

The candidates should have excellent technical and communication skills and be comfortable working in a team environment.

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

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system. 

Physical Sciences Laboratory

Our mission is to conduct scientific research to observe, understand, model, predict and forecast weather, water, and climate extremes and their impacts. An informed society that uses science-based environmental intelligence to effectively anticipate and respond to threats and opportunities related to weather, water and climate extremes. Our research goals are as follows:
  • Rigorously characterize and predict weather, water, and climate extremes and their uncertainties to support NOAA's mission.
  • Develop new process understanding, observing, and modeling capabilities to predict conditions associated with too much or too little water for early warning, preparedness, resource management, and adaptation.
  • Improve monitoring and prediction of weather, climate, and water conditions impacting marine resources.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Conduct research relevant to the missions of NOAA, PSL, and its partners to improve understanding of ENSO teleconnections, ENSO model and prediction error, and how they both affect/are affected by the atmospheric bridge.
  • Work collaboratively with a research team, including colleagues at NOAA and academic institutions.
  • Effectively convey research through reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, and oral presentations.

What You Should Know

  • If you are a selected finalist you will be required to pass a federal laboratory background clearance for site access.
  • This position will be rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder but will be physically situated in the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305. 
  • These are 2-year positions.

What We Can Offer

  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $61,000- $66,000.
  • Relocation funds are available for this position following CIRES and the University of Colorado’s relocation processes and procedures.
  • 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.


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 Driven. Be Innovative. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Ph.D. in physical science, applied math, and/or data science.

What You Will Need

  • Understanding of general aspects of atmospheric and/or ocean dynamics.
  •  Ability to perform climate data analysis.
  • Ability to work independently and contribute to a team.
  • Ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Experience developing structured code in commonly used languages.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Please note that while the position details both required skills above as well as desired skills and experience below, we want applicants to be aware that they do not need to have all of the desired skills and experience to be considered for either position. If you meet the minimum qualifications, have passion for the work, along with experience in a related field, you are encouraged to apply. We encourage on-the-job training for any additional skills or knowledge that become relevant to the position.
  • Experience with atmospheric and/or oceanic models.
  • Experience in one subfield of atmosphere-ocean dynamics, such as synoptic/mesoscale meteorology, coupled air-sea interactions, tropical meteorology.
  • Experience in diagnosis or modeling of ENSO and/or ENSO teleconnections.
  • Understanding of techniques used to make sub-seasonal-to-seasonal climate forecasts, either empirical or physically-based.

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.
  3. List of contact information for 3 references. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. The search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time if you are identified as a finalist for this role.
    • If you are selected as the finalist, we will contact you through email and request that you submit 1 name and email of a reference who will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation (can be one of the 3 noted above). This information will be kept confidential and viewable only by the search committee.
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 (if applicable) as an optional attachment.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Position will remain posted until filled.

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

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Matthew Newman

Posting Contact Email: