Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Closing Date
WorkplaceCambridge, East of England, UK

Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Reconstructing the carbon cycle of the last 50,000 years using paleoclimate data assimilation

Applications are invited for the Arnell Post-Doctoral Research Associate position for a fixed-term of 24 months to work on a project funded by Downing College and in collaboration with the Centre for Climate Repair. The post holder will be based at the Department of Geography and will work under the guidance of Dr Francesco Muschitiello and Dr Matthew Osman.

To better predict the long-term climate impact of future anthropogenic CO2 emissions, it is essential that we quantify mechanisms of climate system and carbon cycle coupling over centennial to millennial timescales. The last 50,000 years offer an ideal natural laboratory to investigate such climate-carbon cycle feedbacks. This period was punctuated by multiple abrupt climate shifts and large-scale climatic reorganizations, each mediated by changes in the partitioning of carbon across various atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial reservoirs. However, the spatial and temporal dimensions of carbon sinks versus sources, including their relationship to atmospheric CO2, remain poorly quantified.

Climate model experiments are widely used to evaluate climate-carbon cycle feedbacks over short time frames, but require additional validation from paleoenvironmental proxies across centennial and longer timescales. To more explicitly facilitate the testing and constraining of models beyond the limits of present-day climate scenarios, this project will apply paleo-data assimilation to generate the first proxy-constrained, spatiotemporally continuous global carbon-cycle reanalysis of the last 50,000 years. This will be done by combining transient simulations from climate system models of intermediate complexity with geochemical proxies to investigate drivers and modes of carbon-cycle variability over centennial and millennial timescales.

The successful candidate will i) perform transient climate model simulations using a wide range of forcing and boundary conditions to produce an ensemble of climate and carbon-cycle states from our models, and ii) apply data assimilation techniques to produce a complete reanalysis of climate and carbon-cycle change for the past 50,000 years.

We seek a motivated scholar interested in applied scientific programming and data analysis. Eligible candidates must have a PhD (or equivalent degree) in Climate Physics, Applied Mathematics, Earth Sciences or allied disciplines. A background in paleoclimate modelling and (or) experience in data assimilation is desirable, as is familiarity with interpreting paleoenvironmental proxy data. The candidate must be highly motivated and have excellent time management, organisational and communication skills, and be able to work well as part of a team. The successful candidate will be primarily based in Cambridge, with secondments to Sydney & Hobart, Australia, and (or) Corvallis, Oregon expected over the course of the project to work closely with international collaborators. The candidate will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities within the Centre for Climate Repair and the Department of Geography, including the departmental ’Climate and Environmental Dynamics’ research group, and reading groups and seminars across the University.

The Arnell Post-Doctoral Research Associate will be invited to become a member of Downing College and of its Middle Common Room (MCR) with associated privileges, and it is expected that the candidate will make an active contribution towards College life, educationally and socially.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

Click the ’Apply’ button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. In your letter you are encouraged to explain how your skills and experience match the Person Profile for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates are expected to take place online in mid-November 2023.

Please quote reference LC38413 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information


Department of Geography








15 September 2023

Closing date

31 October 2023

In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 239762.