Research position in GNSS/RO data assimilation and evaluation

The Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research II (GESTAR II) consortium at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) invites applications for a research position in the field of atmospheric sciences, physics, or related fields.

This scientist will initially focus on the impacts of Global Navigation Satellite System/Radio Occultation (GNSS/RO) observations in GEOS (Goddard Earth Observing System) data assimilation systems. The work will begin with collaborative studies that isolate the impacts of these data in the the production version and pre-production upgrades of the GEOS-FP (Forward Processing) weather analysis and prediction system, specifically investigating impacts of “operational” and “commercial” GNSS-RO datasets in the global atmosphere.

Additionally, the incoming scientist will participate in the examination of improvements as the GEOS-FP system is upgraded with substantial enhancements to the vertical resolution (changing from 72- to 181-layer versions of the model) and the transition to the “Joint Effort for Data assimilation Integration” (JEDI) assimilation framework.

It is expected that the work will evolve in directions determined by the intersection of needs of the Global Modelling and Assimilation Office (GMAO – to effectively use observations in the data assimilation system) and skills of the incumbent as the project progresses. Potential new directions include the design of Observing System Simulation Experiments to optimally design new observing systems, the development of more sophisticated observation operators for GNSS-RO observations that provide more accurate information at higher or lower altitudes, or detailed assessments of the impacts of these observations on forecast skill computed through adjoint- or ensemble-based metrics.

Responsibilities also include contributing to the publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals describing the research results and contributing to writing proposals to support the research.

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in atmospheric sciences, physics, or related fields
  • Experience in data assimilation and/or GNSS/RO observations is required
  • A publication record that aligns to the career stage
  • Ability to work productively as a member of a research team
  • Expertise in modern computer programming, including Fortran and Python

The successful candidate will join the GESTAR II Consortium which supports over 120 researchers based primarily at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). GESTAR II researchers work to create extensive opportunities for breakthroughs in earth and atmospheric science research, carrying out observational, experimental and theoretical research in support of NASA strategic Earth Science mission objectives.

Goddard’s Earth Science Division is home to about 200 civil servants and over 1200 collaborating researchers and support personnel, dedicated to studying the Earth as an integrated system that includes the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, and geosphere. The Division operates as a component of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate that collaborate on interdisciplinary research with the Astrophysics Science, Heliophysics Science, and Solar System Exploration Divisions.

The nominal starting date is early spring, but alternate dates are possible depending on availability.

Candidates should provide a cover letter, CV (including publication list) and a 3-page statement of research interests. Short-listed candidates will be asked to supply three letters of reference at a later date. All materials and inquiries should be sent by email Subject line: Task 168: Researcher Position to: Halley Thompson (

Completed applications received by February 24 will receive full consideration, however the posting will remain open until the position is filled.

Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. The GESTAR II consortium and NASA GSFC are committed to building a diverse research community and encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. All GESTAR II institutions are Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employers.

For more information about the proposed research, contact Dr. Steven Pawson (