CIRES/GSD HYSPLIT Weather Systems Post-Doctoral Researcher

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) located at the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Global Systems Division (GSD) in Boulder, CO.

The Weather Information System Evolution (WISE) section within GSD develops weather-related software, systems, and associated tools used by numerous governmental agencies (domestic and international). A primary focus of WISE is developing improvements to the 2nd generation of the Advance Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS II), a computer system used by the National Weather Service around the country. This system consists of software written primarily in Java and Python. 

One key development effort by WISE is the creation of Hazard Services. Hazard Services is a multi-year effort, and one foundational aspect of the program is to combine the capabilities of AWIPS WarnGen, Graphical Hazard Generator, and RiverPro into a single application. Currently, these critical applications allow NWS forecasters to produce hazard watch, warning, and advisory products and deliver various services. Other development areas for Hazard Services have, or will soon, include probabilistic hazard information, NWS National Center applications, and potential applications for international agencies. 

WISE has been funded to work with the Air Research Laboratory (ARL) to extend the capability of Hazard Services through the inclusion of air quality information from the HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model. The HYSPLIT model is a complete system for computing simple air parcel trajectories, as well as complex transport, dispersion, chemical transformation, and deposition simulations. HYSPLIT continues to be one of the most extensively used atmospheric transport and dispersion models in the atmospheric sciences community. It is anticipated that HYSPLIT will be run using each member of the current operational ensemble forecast system. These ensembles will then be processed in meaningful ways within AWIPS. Probabilistic information will then be derived and tools created to provide this information to forecasters.

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.


WISE is seeking a postdoctoral scientist who can extend the Hazard Services software to determine a) the format to output HYSPLIT data, b) how to combine the ensemble information, c) how to derive probabilistic information from the HYSPLIT ensembles, and d) how to display this information in a meaningful way to forecasters and decision makers. Applications for this system include the forecasting of volcanic ash, chemical release, or nuclear particulate dispersion. The position will be part of postdoc cohort for the NOAA Research (OAR) FACETs (forecasting a continuum of environmental threats) working group.  

Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) is a proposed next-generation hazardous weather paradigm that utilizes probabilistic information as its foundation. FACETs will leverage physical and social science research to support a system that is modern, flexible, and designed to communicate clear and simple hazardous weather, water, and climate information to serve society. FACETs supports NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation initiative to build community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather, water, and climate events.

Note this position will be supporting NOAA and will therefore be located off-campus at the NIST/NOAA complex on Broadway Street in Boulder, CO. Because of the expected nature of the work, the successful candidate is expected to be local and on-site. Relocation benefits are not available. The position is for two years.

Specific duties include:

  • Coordinate with the HYSPLIT team at ARL and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s (NCEP) Environmental Modelling Center (EMC). A separate postdoc HYSPLIT team member will focus on extending HYSPLIT to export data in a format acceptable to AWIPS and Hazard Services.
  • Coordinate with the WISE Hazard Services development team to ensure all approaches and designs are consistent with the long-term plans and current architecture of the system. Participate in the AWIPS process for development of new features to include design and code reviews.
  • Modify the Hazard Services software according to the project scope listed above.
  • Present results as necessary at conferences.
  • Travel as necessary to EMC in order to maintain effective communication with the ARL and EMC team.
  • Participate in monthly FACETs phone calls with the FACETs postdoc cohort and coordinator.
  • Deliver report to FACETs working group twice a year.


  • PhD in Atmospheric Science or related science.
  • Background in ensemble-focused numerical weather prediction.
  • Significant experience in statistical analysis, particularly those related to probabilities.
  • Significant experience in programming in either Python or Java.
  • Experience in designing and developing interactive software applications.
  • U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident status.
  • Ability to pass a National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI, federal background check).

What We Would Like You to Have

  • Familiarity with National Weather Service operations and the forecast process.
  • Experience with the Eclipse IDE.
  • Familiarity with AWIPS.
  • Familiarity with model ensemble verification techniques.
  • Familiarity with probabilistic weather hazard information.


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.

Application Materials

To apply, please submit the following materials:


Cover letter.

Proof of degree, either a transcript confirming highest degree or a copy of your diploma.

List of contact information for 3 references.

In addition, you will need to submit 1 name with contact information who will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation if you are selected as the finalist (can be one of the 3 noted above). This information will be kept confidential and viewable only the search committee.

Screening will begin immediately, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, September 5, 2018