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CIRES/ NOAA SWPC Space Weather Ionosphere Thermosphere Research Scientist

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) invites applications for a Research Scientist position at NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The successful applicant will work to advance SWPC’s ability to predict the dynamics and response of the ionosphere and atmosphere to space weather as it pertains to impacts on communication, navigation, and satellite drag applications.

The position will require the ability to develop and improve physical models of the upper atmosphere to advance SWPC’s space weather products and services, and to be aware of the ionospheric and thermosphere effects that impact users. The candidate will also be required to understand the needs and requirements for concrete space weather information, and to educate the operational user community about how they are affected by space weather.

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 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.

As part of NOAA's National Weather Service, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) - - operates 24/7 to provide real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events, which impact satellites, power grids, communications, navigation, and other technological systems. SWPC customers include the general public, industry, and government agencies.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Work within a small dynamic group at SWPC to advance existing models of the ionosphere and atmosphere to predict the effects of space weather on communications, navigation, and satellite drag.
  • Investigate applications related to ionosphere/atmosphere modeling that could be beneficial to SWPC forecasters and customers.
  • Assess and validate models and applications to establish SWPC priorities.
  • Create testbed versions of high-priority applications, with appropriate documentation, and within an appropriate software framework, to facilitate a successful transition to real-time space weather forecasting operations.
  • Present results and ongoing efforts through internal reports, publications, and presentations at professional meetings and conferences.

What You Should Know

  • Access to the NOAA Federal Center and computer facilities are necessary to perform the work of this position. Access is not available for individuals working in the United States through a visa and therefore we are unable to consider applications from individuals on a visa or requiring visa sponsorship for this position.
  • 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.
  • Selected finalists will be required to pass a federal background check for site access.
  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to align with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.

What We Can Offer

  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $72,000 - $125,000. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • Relocation funds are available for this position following CIRES and the University of Colorado's relocation processes and procedures.
  • We have a phenomenal work culture that emphasizes work-life balance.


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 ambitious. Be proactive. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A Ph.D. in the physical sciences such as physics or engineering.
  • Experience developing or improving physical models of the ionosphere and atmosphere.
  • Experience with data analysis and programming skills in Fortran, Python, IDL, or similar languages.
  • Candidates must successfully complete the required federal clearance process.

What You Will Need

  • Ability to implement mathematical models and algorithms as computer code/software.
  • Familiarity with developing or improving physical models of the coupled ionosphere and thermosphere or coupled models of the ionosphere and whole atmosphere.
  • Strong abilities in understanding the physics and chemistry of the ionosphere and thermosphere.
  • Knowledge of space weather physical processes, including the interaction of the Solar wind with Earth’s magnetosphere and the resulting response of the ionosphere and thermosphere.
  • Skills in analysis and validation of physical models, especially proficiency and experience comparing physical model simulations with satellite and ground-based data.
  • Ability and desire to work in a mission-focused, operational environment.
  • Ability to think critically and make independent decisions.
  • Ability to work well in a team and to build strong interpersonal relationships which facilitate cross-team knowledge sharing.
  • Strong communication skills, demonstrated through peer-reviewed articles and oral presentations to audiences with widely varying degrees of sophistication and expertise.
  • Ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA/SWPC.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Familiarity with the impacts of the ionosphere and atmosphere on operational systems in the areas of radio wave communications, satellite navigation, or satellite drag.
  • Familiarity with the impacts of the lower atmosphere on space weather.
  • Familiarity in modern software management paradigms and tools e.g., git, Docker.
  • Experience with parallel programming/computing.
  • Experience developing high-quality and insightful visualization of scientific datasets.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. A copy of your CV.
  2. A cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
Though not required at the time of application, be prepared to submit a list of 5 professional references (2 of whom must be/must have been supervisors or professors). If you are selected as a finalist, we will ask you to contact your references so that they can complete a SkillSurvey questionnaire on your behalf. SkillSurvey is an online automated reference check solution. 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.

The 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: Tim Fuller-Rowell

Posting Contact Email: