Dynamic Land-Use Ecosystem Modeler Postdoctoral Scholar

Berkeley Lab’s Climate & Ecosystems Division has an opening for a Dynamic Land-Use Ecosystem Modeler. 

In this exciting role, you will model land-use land-cover change (LULCC) impacts to the carbon-water-energy nexus using a unique integrated modeling framework, and predict feedbacks to climate at global and societally-relevant scales. This modeling framework combines multiple land model components; 1) dynamic vegetation with disturbances and plant demography, 2) biogeochemical and climate interactions and 3) representations of human systems, including agriculture and energy sectors. You will incorporate the flow and influence of LULCC within and between each model component.

You will work closely with a project called E3SM, the Energy Exascale Earth System Model. The E3SM project is the development of a next-generation Earth system model (ESM). The task for this position is associated with understanding the implications of different energy futures for the biogeochemical cycle through changes in land-use land-cover, water availability, and extreme events.

You will work with two types of land-surface ecosystem models, ELM and FATES, and in close connection with the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) which explores the human-Earth system. FATES (Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator) simulates vegetation dynamics and life history strategies with size- and age-structured demography, and represents disturbances and vegetation recovery; however, the representation and impact of land-use change is missing. GCAM is featured in E3SM and allows for the ability to represent the full human-Earth system by using its economic, energy, and land-use components to be coupled with the atmosphere, ocean, and land components of E3SM. 

The main objective for this position is to investigate implications of land-use scenarios based on different climate policy assumptions, when including LULCC into a dynamic vegetation disturbance model that includes shifts between natural and managed land, as well as biogeochemical changes from ELM. These predictions then are used to guide human decision-making of future energy, water, and land use. 

What You Will Do:

  • Develop modeling capabilities for representing different land-use types within a dynamic vegetation model with plant demography. 
  • Work with different approaches for model interfacing and coupling between three land models (GCAM, ELM, FATES). 
  • Ensure consistency of land use and land cover between GCAM, ELM, and FATES. 
  • Evaluate how ecosystems shifting from natural vegetation to a variety of managed land will impact: carbon stocks, land-subsurface processes, land-atmosphere interactions, and trace gas emissions.
  • Test hypotheses for predicting carbon cycle, water cycle, and societal feedbacks from varying forest management under climate change in E3SM; resulting in a peer-reviewed publication(s).
  • Explore implications of simulating different energy futures, comparable to different SSPs, with E3SM-GCAM and FATES; resulting in a peer-reviewed publication(s).

What Is Required:

  • Ph.D. in ecology, earth sciences, or related field.
  • Experience in dynamic and demographic modeling, and/or experience in or knowledge of Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs).
  • Knowledge of land-use land-cover change datasets. 
  • Experience using land-surface biogeochemical models and ecosystem model development.
  • Strong coding and mathematical skills. 
  • Some experience with gridded datasets for Earth scale models. 
  • Ability to collaborate with colleagues and advisors at multiple institutions. While this position is located at LBNL, it will involve close collaboration with researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills.
  • Record of timely publications.

The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.


  • This is a full time, 2 year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 3 years paid postdoctoral experience. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.
  • Full-time, M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.
  • Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.
  • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.
  • Work will be primarily performed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.

For more information and to apply: https://lbl.referrals.selectminds.com/jobs/dynamic-land-use-ecosystem-modeler-postdoctoral-scholar-3219

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