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Scientist - Clouds and Precipitation for Destination Earth

Remote | Reading | Bonn

  • Organization: ECMWF - European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
  • Location: Remote | Reading | Bonn
  • Grade: Junior level - A2 - Grade band
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: Closed

Job reference: VN24-42
Salary and Grade: Grade A2 GBP 71,451 (Reading/UK) or EUR 86,824 (Bonn/Germany) NET annual basic salary + other benefits
Deadline for applications: 13/05/2024
Department: Research
Location: Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany
Contract type: STF-PS
Publication date: 15/04/2024
Contract Duration: To 31 May 2026, with the possibility of further extension subject to funding

Job Description

Your role 

We are looking for a highly motivated Scientist to improve the representation of cloud and precipitation processes for global km-scale resolution simulations with ECMWF’s Integrated Forecast System (IFS), in the framework of ECMWF’s contribution to the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative of the European Commission. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a team pushing the bounds of global modelling as part of the efforts to operationalize and continuously evolve the global component of the DestinE Weather-induced Extremes Digital Twin (Extremes DT) and the Climate Adaptation Digital Twin (Climate DT). Clouds and precipitation are of fundamental importance for weather prediction and climate projections, and there are many challenges to improve their representation in models, including the appropriate level of complexity of microphysical processes, spatial heterogeneity, and interactions with radiation, turbulence, parametrized convection and resolved dynamics. Particularly for km-scale resolutions, deep convection becomes partially resolved and there is increasing emphasis on the formulation of the microphysics for convective storms. The successful candidate will evaluate and further develop the representation of cloud and precipitation processes in the IFS investigating the impacts of a more complex implementation (e.g. representation of graupel, ice phase, particle number concentrations) and interactions with other processes. Assessments will range from local impacts of extreme precipitation events to large-scale impacts on the global circulation for both simulations on a timescale of a few days ahead in the Extremes DT to multi-annual simulations in the Climate DT and Horizon 2020 project nextGEMS.  

This position is based in the Physical Processes Team, responsible for the improved representation of atmospheric processes within the ECMWF IFS. The team is part of the Earth System Modelling Section of the Research Department at ECMWF. You will report to the Physical Processes Team Leader and will work closely with other scientists across ECMWF on the IFS and the development of the DestinE Digital Twins both at ECMWF and at partner institutions involved in the implementation of the Climate DT. 

At ECMWF, you will find a passionate community, collectively aiming to build world-leading global Earth system models for numerical weather prediction and climate simulations. This effort supports ECMWF’s strategy of producing cutting‐edge science and world-leading weather predictions and monitoring of the Earth system. This contract is funded by Destination Earth and the H2020 project nextGEMS. 

About ECMWF 

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is a world-leader in weather and environmental forecasting. As an international organisation we serve our members and the wider community with global weather predictions and data that is critical for understanding and solving the climate crisis. We function as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions, holding one of the largest meteorological data archives in the world. The success of our activities builds on the talent of our scientists and experts, strong partnerships with 35 Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies and machine learning across our operations. ECMWF is a multi-site organisation, with a main office in Reading, UK, a data centre/supercomputer in Bologna, Italy, and a large presence in Bonn, Germany. 

ECMWF has developed a strong partnership with the European Union and has been entrusted with the implementation and operation of the Destination Earth Initiative and the Climate Change and Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the Copernicus Programme. Other areas of work include High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools that enable ECMWF to extend provision of data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring.

See   for more info about what we do. 

The Destination Earth (DestinE) Initiative 

ECMWF is one of the three entities entrusted to implement the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative of the European Commission, alongside ESA and EUMETSAT as partners. DestinE aims to deploy several highly accurate thematic digital replicas of the Earth, called Digital Twins. The Digital Twins will help monitor and predict environmental change and human impact, in order to develop and test scenarios that would support sustainable development and corresponding European policies for the Green Deal.  ECMWF is responsible for the delivery of these digital twins and of the Digital Twin engine, the software infrastructure needed to power them of some of Europe’s largest supercomputers, those of the European HPC Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC). 

The second phase of DestinE covers the period June 2024 – May 2026, and future phases are foreseen (subject to funding). Phase 2 will focus on early operations with consolidation, maintenance, and continuous evolution of the DestinE system components developed in the first phase.

For more information on DestinE, see and 

Your responsibilities 

  • Conducting simulations with the IFS and evaluating km-scale simulations performed in DestinE and nextGEMS with a range of observations and metrics
  • Performing scientific assessment of clouds and precipitation in the DestinE and nextGEMS km-scale simulations and their impacts on radiation and dynamics across scales
  • Performing scientific assessment of extreme precipitation events at km-scale resolutions
  • Further developing the parametrizations of cloud and precipitation microphysical processes and their interactions with other processes relevant for kilometre-scale modelling for weather and climate
  • Acting as technical officer, supporting procured activities within DestinE by ECMWF and collaborating with ECMWF DestinE partners
  • Documenting and publishing scientific results and contributing to regular progress reports to the European Commission

What we're looking for

  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive approach to improve models and tools
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision, but also dedicated and enthusiastic about teamwork with willingness to work in close collaboration with other scientists, teams and sections at ECMWF and our partner institutions
  • Ability to maintain effective communication and documentation regarding model developments
  • Highly organised with the capacity to work on a diverse range of tasks to tight deadlines


  • Advanced university degree (EQ7 level or above) in a physical, mathematical or environmental science, or equivalent professional experience

Experience, Knowledge and Skills

  • Experience in atmospheric modelling for weather forecasting or climate prediction
  • Expertise in the parametrization of cloud and precipitation processes
  • Experience with developing and maintaining large scientific codes and running numerical simulations is desirable
  • Experience in handling large observational and/or modelling datasets and their statistical analysis is desirable
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English

Other information 

Grade remuneration:  The successful candidates will be recruited at Grade A2, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be GBP 71,451 (Reading/UK) or EUR 86,824 (Bonn/Germany) NET annual basic salary (ECMWF salaries are exempt of national income tax). In addition to basic salary, ECMWF also offers an attractive package of benefits and entitlements. This position is assigned to the employment category STF-PS  as defined in the ECMWF Staff Regulations. To find out more about working with us and for full details of salary scales and allowances, please visit . 

Starting date:                As soon as possible

Length of contract:     The contract duration is expected to be two years up to 31 May 2026.  There may be the possibility of further contract extensions in the future, depending on requirements and funding availability.

Location:                         Reading, UK or Bonn, Germany

Remote work:            As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows flexibility to staff to mix office working and teleworking. We allow for remote work 10 days/month away from the office, including up to 80 days/year away from the duty station country (within the area of our member states and co-operating states).

Interviews by videoconference (MS Teams) are expected to take place during February-March 2024. If you require any special accommodations in order to participate fully in our recruitment process, please let us know. 

To contact the ECMWF Recruitment Team, please email

Who can apply 

Applicants are invited to complete the online application form by clicking on the apply button below. 

At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion. 

Applications are invited from nationals from ECMWF Member States and Co-operating States, as well as from all EU Member States. 

ECMWF Member and Co-operating States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom. 

In these exceptional times, we also welcome applications from Ukrainian nationals for this vacancy.  

Applications from nationals from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases. 

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