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CIRES/SWPC Solar Magnetic Field Data "GONG" Scientific Programmer

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Job Summary

This is a full time, fully funded, scientific programmer position in Boulder, CO at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

The job focuses on the installation, maintenance and upkeep of real-time, operational, data processing software, as well as the verification and validation of the processed solar magnetogram and H-alpha data. The initial tasks will involve the installation and maintenance of the data ingest and processing system for the National Solar Observatory (NSO) Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) data on NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center computers. This data ingest and processing system will duplicate the current system run by NSO. The GONG data are a critical element of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center data and modeling system and are used by forecasters in the Space Weather Forecast Office and as input to a solar wind and coronal mass ejection model called WSA-Enlil.

Currently, NOAA relies on the NSO to run the six GONG sites around the world, collect the solar magnetogram and H-alpha data, ship it back to a central location at NSO, and process the raw data to create the high level products. The plan for the future is to have NOAA take over the real-time processing of the raw data and the creation of the products used in the operational forecast center and to feed numerical models.

Another component of the job will be the implementation and operations of the Air Force Data Assimilative Photospheric Flux Transport (ADAPT) model. This model will improve upon the current GONG-WSA-Enlil modeling system by adding a scheme for more realistic evolution of solar active regions into the GONG products. The ADAPT model will also provide additional products for forecasting solar radio emissions (such as F10.7), as well as EUV emissions. The current plan is to have the GONG data processing system and the ADAPT model tightly coupled and run as a set of processes to create the data products required by the Space Weather Prediction Center. These would all be under the purview of the successful applicant for this position.

It is assumed that the maintenance and upkeep of the NSO GONG data processing system and the ADAPT model will nearly be a full-time set of tasks. If the data processing and models are implemented and running smoothly, it is possible that the successful candidate for this position could also participate in related research and collaborate with other scientists. The successful candidate will have to work closely with the developers at NSO in the installation and upkeep of the GONG data processing system. This person will also have to work with the ADAPT model developers at the Air Force Research Lab.

There may also be a requirement to travel on occasion but only for short (multi-day) visits to enhance the collaborative activities, or to attend scientific conferences.

Who We Are

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.

Space Weather Prediction Center:

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  1.  Become familiar with the NSO GONG magnetogram and H-alpha data processing software newly running on NOAA development computers.
    • Work with the NSO staff to validate processing results on the NOAA systems.
  2. Oversee the transition of the NSO GONG magnetogram and H-alpha data processing software on NOAA operational computers.
  3. Become proficient in the installation, operation, and maintenance of this code.Maintain the real-time GONG and H-alpha data processing systems and investigate possible improvements.
    • Monitor the data quality and timeliness of observations.
    • Work with the system manager of the WSA-Model to ensure that the model is getting the required input data.
    • Work with the NOAA forecasters to ensure that they get the required data products, as well as sufficient training on how to use these data.
    • Work with NSO scientists and developers to stay abreast of proposed processing improvements.
    • Ensure that the GONG data products meet the requirements of other space weather forecasting partners and international customers.
  4. Assist in the implementation and management of the ADAPT model and provide updated magnetogram outputs for models and forecasters.
    •  Monitor the model output for quality and timeliness.
    • Work with the system manager of the WSA-Model to ensure that the model is getting the required input data.
    • Work with the space weather forecasters to develop new products and services, as well as forecaster training on how to best use and implement these new products.
    • Ensure that the ADAPT data products meet the requirements of other space weather forecasting partners and customers around the world.
    •  Develop new solar forecast products and model output based on user and forecaster needs and requirements.
    • Work with the NASA Community Coordinated Modeling Center on joint projects related to GONG and ADAPT validation and verification studies.

What You Should Know

CIRES commits to inclusive excellence by advancing equity and diversity in all that we do. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.

This position is rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder, but will physically work in the David Skaggs Research Center (NOAA), 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO, 80305, a Federal facility.  You must be able to pass a federal security check to be granted access to the building.

What We Can Offer

CIRES can offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.


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 Collaborative. Be Innovative. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • M.S. in Solar Physics or related field
  • Proficiency in the following software development languages and tools
    • Linux, tcsh, bash, cron, make, FORTRAN, Java, C/C++

What You Will Need

  • Ability to think critically and make independent decisions
  • Ability to work in a collaborative/team environment

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Proficiency in the following software development languages and tools
    • IDL, perl
    • X-Windows, curses, gnuplot, make
    • IRAF, Imagemagick
    • MySQL/MariaDB
    • Git
  • Strong knowledge of solar physics - structures, processes and their relation to space weather
  • Experience in the processing of solar physics observations
  • Expertise in the design, development, and implementation of efficient numerical algorithms
  • HPC knowledge/experience (particularly MPI)
  • Project management experience
  • Modern code management professionalism, such as version control (git) and coding best practices

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 references: the names, professional titles, and contact information of those who are familiar with your qualifications and work history.
  4. One (1) confidential Letter of Recommendation will be required and collected if you are the finalist. If you are selected, you will receive an email from CU Boulder Campus HR to provide a name and email of the person who will provide a Letter of Recommendation for you. We recommend notifying your referee in advance to expect an email from CU Boulder Campus HR requesting that the letter be uploaded through a link provided in the email. 
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by CU Boulder Campus HR using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.

Full consideration will be given to applications received by April 30, 2019.

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

Posting Contact Name: Eric Adamson

Posting Contact Email:

The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer