Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, Colorado, USA.

The successful candidate will work with researchers to better understand landscape change and methane emissions from permafrost environments in Alaska.

Position open until filled. 

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation as one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas - Navigating the New Arctic. The project team will work closely with Alaskan communities in the Yukon River Watershed. The project team consists of researchers from CIRES, the University of Colorado (INSTAAR, Mechanical Engineering), the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the Yukon RIver Intertribal Watershed Council, and Northern Social-Environmental Research.The successful candidate will work with developers of a dual frequency comb spectrometer - an innovation stemming from the 2005 Nobel Prize - which will be deployed in the Arctic for the first time. The successful candidate will develop and implement biosphere-atmosphere permafrost methane flux modeling using measurements from a variety of sources in the Arctic. An overarching goal will be to reconcile bottom-up and top-down estimates of methane emissions from thermokarst lake environments. Prior experience with spectroscopy instruments is encouraged, but is not required. There is the possibility for fieldwork, but this is not a strict requirement. Fieldwork will occur primarily in Goldstream Valley near Fairbanks, Alaska in both winter and summer months, and potentially in other communities in the Yukon River Watershed. There is the possibility for the successful candidate to join the fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle team (based at INSTAAR), and receive drone flight and safety certification.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.


At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop and perform modeling to help determine the configuration of dual frequency comb spectrometer measurements that will begin in summer 2022.
  • Assist in the field deployment of a dual frequency comb spectrometer in the Arctic.
  • Develop the modeling framework to quantify methane fluxes across scales, from point-source to landscape-wide for comparison with available airborne and satellite-based information produced in the project.

What You Should Know

  • The ideal start date is January 2022 but applicants will be considered for a start date as late as Fall 2022.
  • This is a 1-year position with the possibility of extension based on performance and the availability of funding.
  • This position will be rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder and will be physically situated in Mechanical Engineering Department’s Precision Laser Diagnostics Laboratory.
  • The position will be co-advised by faculty in CU Engineering and at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and will additionally work closely with collaborators at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to comply with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.

What CIRES Can Offer

  • CIRES can offer a generous compensation package. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $60,000 - $65,000.
  • Relocation funds are not available for this position.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.


  • Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences, environmental sciences, geosciences, chemistry, statistics, data sciences, computer sciences or other quantitative science or engineering fields.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct data analyses through modeling and communicate results to the scientific community via peer-reviewed publications and presentations.
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize and implement findings from the peer-reviewed literature.
  • Proficiency in computer programming.

What You Will Need

  • A proven ability to work independently and in a team.
  • A background in applying micrometeorological approaches to estimating biosphere-atmosphere trace gas fluxes.
  • Additional background using line-integrated (open-path) measurements for flux characterization will be highly beneficial.

What CIRES Would Like You To Have
  • Understanding of biosphere-atmosphere fluxes.
  • Understanding of permafrost or arctic ecology (not required, but preferred).

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. The search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time if you are identified as a finalist for this role.
If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.The position will be open until filled. Applications will be screened as they are received.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

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