Postdoctoral Fellow - Physical Oceanography

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI

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Science & Technology, Physical Sciences

Job Details

Posting Number:


Job Title:

Postdoctoral Fellow - Physical Oceanography

Position Number:






Position Type:

Professional Staff


Non-Union Non-Classified Staff

Pay Grade Level:


Pay Grade Range:


Status :

Calendar Year, Full-time, Non-tenure-track, Limited


GSO Ocean Technology Center


Please note: Job applications must be submitted directly online only at: (

Campus Location:

Narragansett Bay Campus

Grant Funded:


Extension Contingency Notes:

Position is full-time calendar year, limited to 08/31/2022 with anticipated renewal.

Job Description Summary:

The search will remain open until the position has been filled. First consideration will be given to applications received by October 25, 2021. Second consideration may be given to applications received by November 22, 2021. Applications received subsequent to second consideration date (November 22, 2021) may not be given full consideration.

We seek to hire a postdoc to work collaboratively with oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and at the US Naval Research Laboratory- Stennis Spaceflight Center (NRL-SSC) to improve numerical forecasting of the Gulf of Mexico and its Loop Current System.

Processes in the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and Loop Current Eddies as they encounter bottom topography (summarized in Hamilton et al., 2016, and Donohue et al., 2016, both in Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans) drive essentially all strong subtidal current variability from sea surface to sea floor (depths 3000-4000m). Close dynamical analogies exist to atmospheric storm systems and jet stream meanders interacting with Earth’s topography.

A key gap exists in forecasting of ocean currents and thermal structure: Almost all input data for model assimilation are from near-surface measurements. This arises historically because until recently in the ocean only surface data have been available in near real time. In contrast, in the atmosphere observational profiles of temperature, density, and wind vectors are available through the full air column on a grid of sites at suitable spatial and temporal resolution.

Cost-effective ways now exist to report subsurface observations in near real time, and the methods are particularly applicable in marginal seas such as the Gulf of Mexico. Subsurface ocean data observations assimilated into predictive numerical models have the potential to fundamentally improve and extend forecasting skill for ocean currents and thermal structure.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Duties and Responsibilities:

Develop methods to use deep current and bottom pressure field observations to extend forecasts of the strong deep current systems that exist in the Gulf.

Quantify the success of forecasts against commonly-used metrics for the upper ocean and develop new useful metrics to judge the accuracy of forecasted currents throughout the water column. Use these metrics to test the relative contributions of surface and deep subsurface currents and pressure data in various locations in the Gulf of Mexico toward extending ocean forecasts. Engage with national and international investigators, and participate in conference and workshop travel. May have opportunities for training to assist in grant writing.

Publish reports or scientific journal articles on the findings collaboratively with oceanographers at the University of Rhode Island and at the US Naval Research Laboratory – Stennis Spaceflight Center

Required Qualifications:


1. PhD. in physical oceanography, or meteorology or related field, by time of appointment.

2. Demonstrated ability to conduct research and development, as indicated for example by publication of reports and in peer-reviewed journals.
3. Demonstrated strong oral and written communication skills.

4. Must be US citizen or have a green card, to have access to NRL computer systems.

5. Demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups/ populations.

Preferred Qualifications:


1. Experience with numerical modeling or forecasting of physical systems.

2. Experience with physical oceanography or meteorology.

3. Demonstrated experience with mesoscale/ synoptic scale processes and strong current systems in the ocean/ atmosphere.

4. Experience with data assimilation in the ocean/ atmosphere, demonstrated through for example publications and reports.

Posting Date:


Special Instructions to Applicants:

Please attach the following 3 (PDF) documents to your online Employment Application:

(#1) Cover letter.

(#2) Curriculum vitae.

(#3) “Other Document – References” – the names and contact information of three professional references (pdf doc).

Quicklink for Posting:


The University of Rhode IslandURI Picture 1

Founded in 1892, this land and sea grant university is the flagship public research institution in Rhode Island, enrolling more than 14,500 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students.

Thinking big
URI is home to some of today’s leading innovators, discoverers, and creative problem solvers and is known regionally and worldwide for its big ideas and pioneering research in such areas as environmental studies, neuroscience, biotechnology and life sciences, engineering, marine sciences, forensic sciences, pharmaceuticals, behavioral sciences, and public health promotion. A strong core of traditional academic disciplines provides the foundation for all specialized, professional, and applied areas of study. The University receives about $60 million annually in federal funding for research across 87 undergraduate and 70 graduate degree programs.

Motivated students, engaged faculty

Nearly 23,000 students applied for fewer than 3,300 openings in the 2017 freshman class, which boasts an average grade point average of 3.54. The 17 to 1 student/faculty ratio allows for personal attention and rewarding teaching experiences. Approximately 87 percent of faculty hold terminal degrees. In 2018 URI produced two Fulbright Scholars, five Boren Scholars, a Truman Scholar, and was named a one of the country’s top Gilman scholar-producing schools. URI’s commitment to diversity is demonstrated through its student body, with 43 states and 65 nations represented and 20 percent of students identifying as persons of color, a 65 percent increase since 2008.

Four campuses, one community

URI’s main campus is located on 1,248 acres in rural Kingston, where the campus core — including a quadrangle surrounded by handsome granite buildings — is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Six miles from Rhode Island’s beaches, this campus is conveniently situated along the Boston to New York corridor. The University’s renowned Graduate School of Oceanography is located at the 165-acre Narragansett Bay Campus. The Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies brings higher education to downtown Providence. Nearby, the 133,000-square-foot Rhode Island Nursing Education Center URI Picture 2includes unparalleled simulation labs. The W. Alton Jones Campus — 2,300 acres of forests, lakes, and farmland in West Greenwich — provides a secluded setting for academic research, environmental education, business meetings and special events.


Investing in the future
Since 2007, the University has invested $607 million in campus capital projects, including: a $150 million engineering complex, due to open in 2019; Brookside, another new apartment-style residence hall, 2019; a Welcome Center, 2018; the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, 2017; Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences, 2016; and Avedisian Hall, home to the College of Pharmacy, 2012.


Expertise on demand

The University is home to several centers of expertise that tackle some of society’s most vexing challenges. The George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience brings multi-disciplinary research to bear on devastating brain diseases, such as ALS and Alzheimer’s. The Digital Forensics and Cyber Security Center supports state, national, and international public welfare through education, research, training, and service. The Business Engagement Center is the “front door” through which industry taps into research and training opportunities and assistance with intellectual property or technology issues. The R.I. Food Center brings URI’s agricultural roots to the 21st century as a resource for farmers, consumers, retailers, and others across the food industry

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North Kingston
Rhode Island
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