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Postdoctoral Research Associate, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department (HU Atmospheric Chemistry Group)

at University Of Montana

Posted: 10/9/2019
Job Reference #: 2379
Keywords: research, chemical

Job Description

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Job Description

The Hu Group at the University of Montana ( and the Mickley group at the Harvard University ( invite applications for a jointly-supervised postdoctoral researcher to study the long-term trends of global tropospheric ozone. This newly funded NOAA funded project, led by Hu, will explore the processes controlling decadal changes of tropospheric ozone constrained by global observation network and chemical transport models. See below for the project summary.

Project summary: Long-term trends of tropospheric ozone constrained by global observation networks

The two main tropospheric oxidants, ozone and OH radical, are critical drivers of photochemical processes that determine the lifetime of most air pollutants and methane. Current models, however, cannot explain the observed ozone trend and the inferred variability in global mean OH over the past few decades, which limits our capability to estimate ozone radiative forcing and policy-relevant ozone background. The failure of models to capture OH variability also makes it challenging to interpret trends in methane, whose main sink is OH.

This project aims to explore the processes controlling long-term changes of tropospheric ozone over 1980-2018. We plan to examine the seasonal, intra- and interannual changes of the existing decades-long observational records of ozone, nonmethane volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrate wet deposition fluxes. Comprehensive data analysis of the long-term observations will then be used to constrain the processes of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model.

We will examine the roles of anthropogenic VOCs and NOx emission trends and ozone variability in the lowermost stratosphere in driving tropospheric ozone change over the last four decades. With improved knowledge of the controlling factors, we will then quantify the radiative forcing from tropospheric ozone trends since the 1980s and also revisit previous estimates of the forcing due to anthropogenic ozone changes since the preindustrial era. Finally, we will also examine the implications of our results for global mean OH.

The overarching goal of the project is to explain the trends and variabilities in tropospheric ozone and OH radical using existing long-term observational records of ozone, non-methane VOCs, and nitrate wet deposition. This work will also improve our understanding of the factors controlling tropospheric oxidation capacity, and represents a critical step toward better prediction of tropospheric chemistry and air quality in the future under a climate change regime.

Required qualifications and skills:

  • Educational background and PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry or related field
  • Demonstrated knowledge of scientific programming for advanced data analysis (e.g., R, MATLAB, IDL, Fortran, or Python)
  • Proficiency in numerical modeling such as GEOS-Chem would be a significant asset

For further information on this position and project, please contact Drs. Lu Hu ( and Loretta Mickley (

Position Details

The successful applicant will be employed full-time by the University of Montana on a 12-month Letter of Appointment, which is renewable for a second year based on job performance and funding availability, and includes a comprehensive and competitive benefits package including Insurance package, mandatory retirement plan, partial tuition waiver, and wellness program. The position is open on September 10, 2019 with a flexible starting date, and is based in Missoula, Montana. Missoula is one of the most beautiful university towns in the west, offering an affordable family-friendly lifestyle and excellent outdoor recreation opportunities in the heart of the northern Rockies.

About UM

The University of Montana is a unit of the Montana University System with approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and 500+ full-time faculty members. It is located in Missoula, a culturally vibrant community of about 70,000, surrounded by mountain grandeur which was recently ranked in the “top 20 best college towns with a population of less than 250,000” by the American Institute for Economic Research and ranked 9th in Outside Magazine’s “The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America” in 2014. Many national publications recognize Missoula for its high quality of life. Abundant recreational opportunities in surrounding state and national forests and nearby Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park complement a thriving intellectual atmosphere.

To learn more about the University of Montana, Missoula, and the State of Montana, please visit the links below.

Criminal Background Investigation is required prior to Offer of Employment.
In accordance with University policy, finalists for this position will be subject to criminal background investigations.
ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran's Preference.
Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. For example, this material is available in alternative format upon request. As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, we encourage applications from minorities, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law.
References *References not listed on the application materials may be contacted; notice may be provided to the applicant.
Testing Individual hiring departments at UM may elect to administer pre-employment tests, which are relevant to essential job functions.

Employment Eligibility. All New Employees must be eligible and show employment eligibility verification by the first date of employment at UM, as legally required (e.g., Form I-9).

How to Apply

Priority Application Date: October 15, 2019

Applications received by this date will be guaranteed consideration. Application review will begin on October 15, 2019 and continue until the position is filled.

Please submit the following application materials via "New Resume/CV" button below.

*Please note: only five (5) attachments are allowed per application. Please combine documents accordingly.

  • Cover letter – describing research interests, experience, career goals, and your fit for the position
  • Detailed CV - listing education, publications, skills, etc
  • Names and contact information for three (3) professional references
Job Location
Missoula, Montana, United States
Position Type