Postdoctoral Research Associate - Earth System Predictability

Date: Sep 8, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11357 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


We are seeking Postdoctoral Research Associates who will support the Computational Earth Sciences (CES) Group in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division (CSED), Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate (CCSD) Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). 


The CES group is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists carrying out research to

improve process understanding of the global Earth system by developing and applying models, machine learning, and computational tools at scale; integrating observational data; and quantifying Earth system predictability and uncertainty associated with interactions between water, energy, biogeochemical cycles, and aerosols. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Participate in research to create analytical frameworks for predictive understanding of how the climate responds to natural and anthropogenic forcings in the Earth system over time scales ranging from sub-seasonal to multi-decadal.
  • Use conventional and modern Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques to analyze large-scale, reanalyzed, and simulated datasets and design and execute modeling experiments.
  • Understand oceanic and atmospheric variability modes and their interactions and/or possess expertise in applying AI, ML, network science, predictive modeling, and simulation.
  • Conduct research to identify modes of variability that affect the average and extreme changes in temperature and precipitation across land regions.
  • Develop a predictive understanding of Earth's system using explainable AI, ML, modeling, and simulation.  
  • Develop analytical techniques to determine the extent to which natural climate variability and climate change contribute to significant changes in climate characteristics.
  • Collaborate with CES, CSED researchers, and internal and external sponsors to broaden our research portfolio.
  • Maintain and improve your scientific publication credentials.
  • Interpret, report, and present research findings to audiences of all levels clearly and effectively.
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Atmospheric Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Must have a strong research profile and be able to conduct independent research
  • Prior experience in geospatial data analysis


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience analyzing big data, ensemble simulations, and remotely sensed data products
  • Efficiency in the use of high-performance computing resources
  • Knowledge of modeling, simulations, and geospatial analyses
  • Strong publication records in the areas of expertise
  • Research experience in uncertainty quantification, optimization, predictive modeling, AI, ML, and deep learning
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.

Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.



This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville