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Scientist to join the Stratosphere modelling group



Deadline for applications
Job title description

BIRA-IASB is looking for a scientist (Master in Sciences or Engineering) for the stratospheric evaluation of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the exploitation of data from chemical reanalyses.

Statute: Contractual
Start date: Fall 2023
Deadline for applications: 15 August 2023

Division, context

Within BIRA-IASB, the "Stratosphere modelling" group is studying the composition of the stratosphere and the impact of climate change on the middle atmosphere circulation and the ozone layer. They produce analyses of the stratospheric composition using the Belgian Assimilation System for Chemical ObsErvations (BASCOE) model. The group is also responsible for the evaluation of the stratospheric composition of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS).

More details about our activities at


1. Stratospheric evaluation of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS)

CAMS, mandated by the European commission since 2015, produces routine analyses and forecasts of the atmospheric composition to monitor air quality and the ozone layer. This is done by constraining an atmospheric numerical model to reproduce observations measured by satellite instruments. CAMS also produces a reanalysis of the past atmospheric composition. In contrast to routine analyses where the model version is updated over time and where also the observing system evolves, reanalyses are based on the same model version using the latest reprocessing of the observations. These tasks are implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF). In order to evaluate its quality, ECMWF contracts other scientific institutions to compare the CAMS products against independent observations, where BIRA-IASB and its stratospheric modelling group are responsible for evaluating the CAMS stratospheric products. Your task will be to:

  • run, maintain and improve the system that compares the CAMS products against independent observations for
    • the CAMS routine products,
    • the CAMS reanalysis, and
    • the products from the CAMS updated system before its routine implementing
  • write the evaluation reports and present results during regular meetings
  • contribute to writing papers

2. Data exploitation from chemical reanalyses

In addition to CAMS, some institutions have built their own reanalyses. One has been produced by BIRA-IASB using the BASCOE system which focuses on the stratospheric composition. Another one has been produced by NASA. Here, the goal will be to compare these reanalyses in the Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere (UTLS) region. With tropospheric pollutants reaching the stratosphere and the expected increase of stratosphere to troposphere exchange, it is important to evaluate how good reanalyses are in this region.

Required competences
  • A Master in Sciences or Engineering(*)
  • Some academic training in atmospheric science is a strong asset
  • Excellent sense of organization, timeliness
  • Good programming skills in Fortran, Python and Bash/Shell
  • Knowledge of NetCDF, HDF-5 and GRIB file formats
  • Good level in oral and written English, knowledge of Dutch and/or French would be an asset
  • Strong motivation, initiative, scientific curiosity and team spirit
  • Good communication skills (reading, writing, oral)

(*) In the situation where the Master or PhD degree was awarded by a body outside the Benelux, the candidate will have to apply for an equivalence of the level of studies preceding the PhD in order to prove that this level corresponds to a generic Belgian Master degree. This should only be done after the candidate has been selected for the job and before he/she takes
up the job. To obtain the equivalence, you can choose to apply for it at the French or Dutch speaking community of Belgium. You can find more information on this at or

Offer and benefits
  • A contract for one year with a possible extension depending on future funding. Salary is according to the federal regulations for scientific contractual personnel basis.
  • Dynamic working environment with international contacts (space agencies, industry, air quality community).
  • Refund of commuting expenses when using public transportation or a bicycle.
  • Attractive annual leave policy and options to balance professional and personal life (flexible schedule and possibility to work from home).
  • Access to special advantages arranged for the employees of the federal scientific institutions (e.g. collective hospital insurance and possibility to take part in training courses).
  • Pleasant working atmosphere in a scientific environment located in a green setting in Uccle, Brussels.
  • Attractive annual leave policy (minimum 26 days per year)

After evaluation of the application letters, the selected candidates will be invited for an interview, or a teleconference.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Quentin Errera via

  • Quentin.Errera(at)aeronomie(dot)be or
  • By phone: +32 (0) 2 373 67 67

Send your application (CV and cover letter) with the reference: “D33_CAMS2_82”, before August 15th, 2023, to job-ae(at)aeronomie(dot)be.


More about BIRA-IASB

The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is a Belgian Federal Scientific Institute.

Since its founding in 1964, BIRA-IASB has been conducting research and providing public services in space aeronomy, i.e. the physics and chemistry of Earth's atmosphere and other planets, and outer space.

The research performed at BIRA-IASB addresses issues of societal interest, such as atmospheric composition changes and their link with climate.