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Volcanic Dispersion Scientist

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 Closes: 29 Jul 2019
Exeter, GB Banding at £23,673-£26,119 or £30,325-£33,260
Fixed term & Full time met-office/20190712133857

Salary Information:

Foundation Scientist £23,673-£26,119*

Scientist £30,325-£33,260*

 We also offer competitive benefits including flexible working, a generous leave allowance, free parking, and free tea and coffee. There are also numerous clubs and activities as well as a restaurant, cafe, on-site gym, at our Exeter HQ. 

*Salary quoted is based on full-time salary (37 hours) and 27.5 days annual leave and 8 bank holidays. Leave rises to 32.5 days annual leave and 8 bank holidays after 5 years. Employees can buy or sell up to 5 days leave if full-time or for part-time staff up to their weekly contracted hours. New starts commence at the bottom of the salary grade.


The Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality (ADAQ) strategic area within Weather Science is responsible for developing the models and science related to the transport, dispersion and reactions of atmospheric contaminants. The work within the group is highly varied, ranging from core atmospheric physics through to specific subject matter areas in volcanology, radiological and biological contaminants, and air quality. 

We are looking for a candidate with detailed knowledge of the properties of volcanic ash and their representation in atmospheric dispersion models. The role will support the development of our operational systems to represent the sedimentation of non-spherical volcanic ash. Focussing on large volcanic eruptions, the successful candidate will examine the sensitivity of volcanic ash transport to stratospheric wind profiles taken from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models.

The candidate will be required to work with and modify the system that supports the Met Office’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) dispersion modelling capability and influence decisions about its development. 

This post is a temporary maternity backfill from November 2019 to February 2020.

Job Purpose:

To contribute to the development of an enhanced volcanic-ash atmospheric dispersion modelling capability for the Met Office.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Contribute to the development of a new scheme to represent volcanic ash particle shape in the VAAC system.
  • Conduct research into the appropriate use of stratospheric NWP winds for dispersion modelling of large volcanic ash eruptions.
  • Disseminate results via a technical report.

Essential Qualifications, Skills & Abilities:

1.    A good honours degree in a physical-/mathematics-based science (2.1 or above), or demonstration of equivalent experience, and a relevant PhD or equivalent research experience. 
2.    Advanced knowledge of atmospheric dispersion of volcanic ash and the challenges associated with representing its physical characteristics in computational models. 
3.    A demonstrated ability to use the NAME dispersion model and apply programming languages, including Python, to produce high quality analyses.
4.    An ability to work and collaborate as an active and productive member of a team, and evidence of an ability to proactively plan and manage own work.
5.    Proven ability to communicate clearly and effectively, in writing and orally, to scientists and non-specialists.

Desirable Qualifications, Skills & Abilities:

1.    Experience with meteorological data, in particular the representation of upper-level winds.
2.    An understanding of the set-up of dispersion models for operational forecasting at Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres.

Additional Supplementary Information:

To apply, please click on the ‘apply’ button below.

Closing date 29/07/2019 with interviews expected 09/07/2019. Please note that you will be notified if you are successful or unsuccessful.

Should you be offered an interview, please be aware there may be a selection exercise which could include a presentation, written test or a scenario-based activity. If you require any reasonable adjustments during these exercises, please include this information in your application.

Please note, when joining the Met Office all new employees will start on the salary band minimum.

Full-time, part-time and job share applications are invited.  Successful applicants will be required to work ~75% of their working week in Exeter. Homeworking may be considered for ~25% of week.

Candidates who are interviewed maybe considered for other similar scientific posts available in the Met Office during the next 12 months.

We are a “Disability Confident” employer, Mindful Employer, with an Athena Swan Bronze award for our work on gender equality and an LGBTi network.

Please note that successful candidate/s will be required to satisfactorily undergo security clearance checks. This will generally require the candidate to have lived in the UK for at least three out of the last five years, but applicants not meeting this criteria may be considered.

This recruitment post is not offering UK Visa and Sponsorship and therefore requires all applicants to be eligible to work within the UK / EU without restriction. If you are a non–EU candidate, you will be required to provide and attach all relevant eligibility documentation to your application at the time of applying.

Met Office

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