Physical Oceanographer

Job reference:
BAS 20/40
Contract type:
Full Time
Fixed-Term Appointment (36 Months)
Salary in the range of £30,782 to £38,478
We offer generous benefits
Polar Oceans team
Cambridge, with the possibility for up to 6 months in Antarctica in the first two years of the post.
Closing date:
5 July, 2020 11:59 pm

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, please note there may be delays to our recruitment timeline.


The British Antarctic Survey is inviting applications for an experienced and independent observational physical oceanographer with an excellent academic profile. This will include a strong mathematical background and a track record of interpreting and analysing observational polar oceanographic datasets. Direct experience with ocean glider data and analysis of Southern Ocean or Weddell Sea observations would be considered a significant advantage. This is a 36 month full-time position for a suitably qualified postdoctoral researcher, working on two projects that are understanding the role of the Southern Ocean and Weddell Gyre in heat and carbon subduction. Specifically, the PDRA will contribute to the European Research Council (ERC)-funded project SO-CHIC (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded project ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon sequestration and Transports).

Both projects require extensive skills in data processing and analysis of high-resolution hydrographic and current velocity data from ocean gliders to understand the role of the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean’s uptake of heat and carbon. The postholder will need to demonstrate that they have training or experience in handling hydrographic datasets, and will ideally have been involved in autonomous vehicle campaigns. Within the SO-CHIC project (90% of time), the gliders will contribute to an array of autonomous vehicles that will quantify the development and destruction of wintertime mixed layers, and analyse the dissipation and entrainment rates associated with these processes. This will provide an improved mechanistic understanding of the mixed layer heat budgets within the Weddell Sea sector the Antarctic. Within ORCHESTRA (10% of time), ocean glider data will be used to understand the interaction of the circulation with seamounts in the Scotia Sea and the resultant water mass transformations that occur. Both projects will require the postholder to collaborate extensively with colleagues at the Universities of Oxford, Gothenburg and the Sorbronne.

Any successful candidate will need a strong mathematical background and a track-record of delivering high-quality scientific results and disseminating them in leading journals, and at national and international conferences.


The post is attached to the SO-CHIC (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate) and ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon sequestration and Transports) projects, both of which rely on novel physical oceanographic autonomous instrumentation to understand the role of the Southern Ocean in the uptake of heat and carbon and water mass transformations. The postholder will need to demonstrate previous experience in quality control, data analysis and publishing of observational physical oceanography datasets (ideally, though not necessarily from ocean gliders). Experience with handling microstructure data of ocean mixing would be a strong advantage. The post will primarily be involved in delivering time series of quality-controlled glider data including mixed layer depths and dissipation and entrainment rates, and analysing the data to assess the relative importance of different instability mechanisms driving wintertime mixed layer evolution. The postholder will also liaise with others in the project to feed the process-based understanding from the observational experiment into new parameterizations to be tested in ocean models, so an appreciation of that process would be an advantage.


PhD in ocean/climate dynamics/physics/maths or equivalent experience.


1) Participate in fieldwork to deploy and recover underwater gliders in the Weddell Sea, during late 2020 and 2021.

2) Quality control the physical oceanography data from these deployments and deliver time series of mixed layer depths and dissipation rates.

3 Analyse data from both SO-CHIC and ORCHESTRA projects to understand both the processes driving mixed layer development and associated water mass transformations.

4) Attend SO-CHIC/ORCHESTRA project meetings and engage with associated project partners to deliver the project objectives.

5) Lead high-quality publications resulting from the projects.

Please quote reference: BAS 20/40
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 5th July 2020
Interviews are scheduled to be held: 27th July 2020

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job. We are open to a range of flexible working options, including job sharing, to support childcare and other caring responsibilities.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Communication skills

  • Fluent in written and spoken English language - Essential
  • Proven ability to present research effectively in written and oral form with examples of publication in leading journals - Essential
  • Able to communicate detailed technical information clearly and concisely to a range of stakeholders - Desirable [1]

Computer / IT skills

  • Experience of collection, processing and analysis of physical oceanographic data (CTD, ADCP etc.) - Essential
  • Experience with ocean gliders - Desirable [1]
  • Experience with ocean microstructure data - Desirable [1]

Decision Making

  • Track record of independent research and associated decision making - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • Able to work as part of a team within the SO-CHIC/ORCHESTRA projects across the partner institutions - Essential

Managerial ability

  • Ability to manage project workflow and balance time/resources between projects - Essential

Numerical ability

  • Strong analytical and numerical ability consistent with processing and analysing observational oceanographic data sets - Essential

Other Factors

  • Flexible and adaptable - Essential
  • Understanding of how BAS science fits in to a wider perspective - Desirable [2]


  • PhD in ocean/climate dynamics/physics/maths or equivalent experience - Essential

Resource Management ability

  • Able to manage resources to meet agreed objectives and deadlines - Essential

Skills / Experience

  • Excellent understanding of ocean and global climate dynamics - Essential
  • Demonstrated understanding of Southern Ocean dynamics, particularly relating to mesoscale eddy dynamics, submesoscales and their impact on ocean mixed layers. - Desirable [1]
  • Experience manipulating and interpreting ocean glider data and reanalysis products - Desirable [1]

You can apply for this job online or you can print off the application forms, fill them out by hand and mail them.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Recruitment team is working remotely and cannot access the building. If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, please contact us: [email protected]

If you need more information

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 221400
Facsimile: +44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.