Group News: Open positions

August 19, 2018

New Climate Modelling Initiative: two postdocs and two research scientists

Climate change projections continue to be marred by large uncertainties. But breakthroughs in their accuracy are within reach, thanks to recent advances in the computational and data sciences and in the availability of Earth observations from space and from the ground. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and partner institutions are developing a new Earth system modeling platform to harness these advances. It will fuse an Earth system model (ESM) with global observations and targeted local high-resolution simulations of clouds, turbulence, and other elements of the Earth system. At MIT we will focus on the ocean component of the ESM.

As a postdoctoral scholar or research scientist, you will collaborate with a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and applied mathematicians, spanning MIT, Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Naval Postgraduate School. You will contribute to the development of a data-informed ESM by

  • Developing physically informed parameterizations of subgrid-scale processes in the ocean that are suitable for data assimilation and machine learning approaches, including models for boundary layer turbulence, submesoscale processes, and deep convection; or
  • Building and prototyping numerical and computational methods for an ocean dynamical core that is scalable and adaptable to emerging hardware architectures; or
  • Applying scalable data assimilation and machine learning algorithms, to allow the parameterizations to learn systematically from diverse data sources, such as satellite observations or high-resolution simulations of turbulent flows.

We are seeking to fill two postdoctoral and two research scientist positions within this initiative, spanning a range of expertise from computational and applied mathematics to the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. We encourage women and under-represented minorities to apply.

As a minimum qualification, you are expected to have

  • Completed a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, atmospheric or oceanic sciences, computer science, engineering, physics, statistics or a related field at the time of the appointment;
  • A strong physical, mathematical, and/or computational background;
  • Programming experience in at least one general purpose language;
  • Demonstrated effective written and verbal communication skills.

We prefer for you to have

  • Experience with high-performance parallel computing;
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and interacting cross-functionally with a wide variety of people.

For the research scientist positions, at least two years of postdoctoral research experience and leadership in research projects as demonstrated by publications are also required.

An article on this initiative has been recently published in a Science article. For more information about the positions, please contact Professors Raffaele Ferrari and John Marshall at

Applications with a curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interests, and three letters of recommendation should be submitted to the links below

Review of applications will begin September 1st and will continue until the positions are filled.


Upcoming NASA satellite mission: one postdoc

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) NASA mission scheduled to be launched in 2021 will revolutionize oceanography by detecting ocean surface features with 10 times better resolution than present technologies. The higher resolution of SWOT is required to distinguish structures that occur on scales of 50 kilometers or shorter, where most of the ocean’s energy is mixed and transported. Such small-scale ocean features contribute to the ocean-atmosphere exchange of heat and carbon, major components in global climate change. Moreover, SWOT’s detailed information will improve understanding of the ocean environment including the motion of life-sustaining nutrients and harmful pollutants. A major challenge in interpreting the SWOT data is that the ocean surface at scales below 100 km reflects a combination of geostrophically balanced motions and internal gravity waves. At MIT we plan to develop techniques to separate the two classes of motions by assimilating the SWOT data in the MIT general circulation model.

We are seeking to fill one postdoctoral position to formulate the theory and data assimilation techniques to interpret the SWOT observations. As a minimum qualification, the postdoc is expected to have completed a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, atmospheric or oceanic sciences, physics, statistics or a related field at the time of the appointment. A strong physical, mathematical, and/or computational background is essential. Experience with data assimilation techniques is desirable.

More information on the SWOT mission can be found here. For more information about the position, please contact Professor Raffaele Ferrari at Applications material with a CV, a one-page statement of research interests and three references as a single PDF file should be submitted online here. Review of applications will begin September 1st and will continue until the position is filled.


MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.