The Scientific Service of Meteorological and Climatological Research and the Scientific Service of Observations of the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium are looking for a scientist (f/m/x) to assist in the development and set-up of an operational data assimilation system. This is a 1-year position with a possibility of extension.

The scientist will help design and implement a robust, automated system to perform the quality control and preparation of meteorological observations for assimilation into the ALADIN numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. She/he will aid in the design and configuration of the surface and 3D-Var atmospheric data-assimilation cycle.

About us

The RMIB provides weather forecasts based on state-of-the-art NWP models, interpreted and communicated by experienced forecasters. The new Seamless Prediction research program of the RMIB aims to provide even better, probabilistic forecasts which combine extrapolation-based methods driven by observations, stochastic algorithms and high-resolution NWP. This position aims to support the NWP activities in the Seamless Prediction program, in particular the implementation of data assimilation in the operational NWP model.

Job description

The increase in computing power allows NWP models to be run at ever higher resolutions. This increase in resolution comes with the challenge to correctly initialize the model state, based on a multitude of meteorological observations. The observational network of the RMIB consists of a wide variety of instruments, including conventional (station, boat, sounding, … ) and more novel data sources (meteorological radar, GNSS/GPS stations, …). The availability of novel high-resolution data in particular is a great asset for high-resolution models, but these data bring along new sources of uncertainty and error which require enhanced preprocessing and quality control techniques.

Your first task will be to design and implement a robust, automated and maintainable data processing chain for the preparation and quality control of the RMBI's heterogeneous set of observations. This processing chain should be well-documented, flexible and fast enough for operational use.

Secondly, you will help in the set-up of the surface and 3-dimensional variational (3D-Var) atmospheric data assimilation cycle and ensure the correct processing and assimilation of the observational data in the NWP model. You will apply and evaluate various thinning and (variational) bias correction methods. You will verify the correct assimilation of data into the NWP model by performing and analyzing single-observation experiments.

Finally, you will perform data assimilation experiments for a number of case studies to determine the impact of various configurations and observation types on the quality of the forecasts, and summarize your findings in a report or article.

You will have the opportunity to visit other National Meteorological Services in the European high-resolution NWP consortium ALADIN, in which the RMIB plays a leading role. You will have the chance to collaborate with data-assimilation experts at an international level and attend international workshops and/or conferences. This work can also become the basis for a PhD later.


 Master or equivalent in atmospheric science, physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science or related area
 Knowledge of dynamical meteorology and meteorological observation systems
 Advanced skills in programming and scripting in a Linux/Unix environment
 Experience with the analysis of NWP and/or meteorological observation data

In addition, the candidate should have the following skills:

 Good written and oral communication skills in (scientific) English
 Knowledge of Dutch and/or French is a plus
 Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

We offer
 Salary according to SW1 or SW11 scale (scientific assistant) according to number of years of relevant experience
 Dynamic working environment, with many international contacts, in a green area in the outskirts of Brussels (Uccle).
 Flexible working hours.
 Reimbursement of public transport or bicycle commuter travel costs.
 Partial indemnification of the contribution for hospitalisation insurance.

To apply, please send a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a statement of interest with reference DANWP before 18 February 2019 to

Béatrice Libioulle
Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
Ringlaan 3
B-1180 Ukkel