Postdoc opportunities!

updated 12/21/2020

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate in paleoclimate modeling and data-model comparison of the Earth’s tropical regions. The successful applicant will contribute to a new, collaborative, NSF-funded project investigating the drivers of Central American paleoclimate on glacial/interglacial timescales, including changes in atmospheric circulation and moisture source variability and their relationship to large-scale dynamics. The successful candidate will analyze existing simulations from the isotope-enabled NASA GISS ModelE2.1-R and tagged-water experiments with iCESM, and compare results with new 400 kyr records from Lake Petén Itzá, Guatemala. (Click here for NSF abstract). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be based at Washington University, but will collaborate closely with grant partners at University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In addition to this specific project, the candidate will also have opportunities to further explore hydroclimate and water isotope variations in the tropical Americas or elsewhere (on glacial/interglacial or other timescales) by analyzing existing model runs or running new simulations, depending on interests and experience. Possible projects include, but are not limited to, investigating moisture source variability to the Warm Pool, the Amazon, and central Africa during the Last Glacial Maximum or during the Last Millennium. Candidates are encouraged to discuss their interests in their application. 

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. degree in earth sciences, atmospheric sciences, or a related field at the time of appointment.
  • Experience working with climate model output.
  • General familiarity with paleoclimate data and/or proxies.
  • Strong interest in hydroclimatology, and/or tropical climate dynamics.

Experience working with either paleo or modern water isotopic data is helpful, but not required. Preferred programming languages include Matlab, R, Python, or NCL, but a main proficiency in another language is acceptable.

The successful candidate will join Washington University’s Climate and Paleoclimate Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Bronwen Konecky, and will interact closely with other group members, students, and collaborators. Postdocs at Washington University receive a competitive benefits package and plentiful opportunities for professional and career development through the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Washington University Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (

This position is open to be filled immediately, but the start date is flexible. Spring or early Summer 2021 would be ideal. Work will take place remotely as long as COVID19 restrictions are in place. Partial remote work thereafter may be discussed if needed.

    To apply, please visit and search for the ID 49889. Or, this permalink should direct you to the same place:  In your application, please include your CV, a brief statement of your interests, and the names/contact info for 3 references. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Bronwen Konecky: bkonecky at wustl dot edu.

    Note: Application review will start in mid January 2021. However, the holidays are here, 2020 has been a real monster, and early-career folks all need a bit of a break. So if you plan to apply to the position but won’t be able to get the formal application in by mid-January, don’t worry. Review of applications will be ongoing until the position is filled. Feel free to send me an email with a rough ETA for your application and we’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Additional postdoctoral opportunities:

    • The Climate and Paleoclimate Lab is seeking a postdoc to work on triple oxygen isotopes in precipitation using a rich dataset of existing samples from East Africa collected by our group, plus opportunities for new sample collection and analysis. Start date flexible. If triple oxygen isotopes are your jam, please get in touch!
    • The Climate and Paleoclimate Lab is always seeking new postdocs, dependent on funding. Feel free to pitch your own idea! Get in touch with Professor Konecky at: bkonecky at wustl dot edu.

    Ph.D. student opportunities

    If you’re interested in tropical climate or paleoclimate, especially via biomarkers, light stable isotopes, and/or models, please get in touch with Professor Bronwen Konecky at: bkonecky at wustl dot edu. In your email, please describe your interests and background, and attach a resume or CV if you have one.

    Potential project topics include the following, but feel free to pitch your own idea!

    The modern tropical water cycle

    • Continental moisture recycling and African climate. How does moisture from the Congo rainforest contribute to rainfall variability and agricultural decision-making in western Uganda? How do the dynamics of seasonal wetlands influence land-atmosphere feedbacks in semi-arid Botswana? Current opportunities include water isotope, meteorological, and remote sensing observations in western Uganda as part of a newly funded initiative to understand rainfall variability and agricultural decision-making. This project is in partnership with physical and human geographers at the University of Colorado, University of New Hampshire, and Georgia State. More info here.

    Ancient climates and environments

    • Modern calibration of leaf wax hydrogen isotopes and paleoclimate reconstruction. Can we quantify uncertainties (structural as well as parametric) on leaf wax hydrogen isotopes using a forward model embedded in a GCM? How much uncertainty is reduced when we add rich new measurements of modern tropical plants, soils, and waters? Current opportunities include greenhouse studies, model investigations, and paleoclimate reconstructions via lake sediments.

    Earth system modeling and data synthesis

    • Synthesis of hydroclimate proxy records and comparison with isotope-enabled climate model simulations. What physical mechanisms of climate variability and change, explored using models, can explain observations in the geologic record? Current opportunities include analysis of existing/upcoming simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum and the past millennium, and data synthesis-model comparison of the past 2,000 years using the brand new Iso2k database.

    To learn more about the areas of research in the Climate and Paleoclimate Lab, please click here.