Washington State Climatologist, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group (CIG)

Posted by: Jenny Dettmann
Post Date: 1/29/2024
Opportunity Type: Job
Organization/Grantor: University of Washington Climate Impacts Group (CIG)
Position/Title/Fund: Washington State Climatologist
Type/Term: Part-time, 50%
Location: Seattle, Washington
Salary: $46,200-$55,200 annually for a 0.5 FTE position ($92,400-$110,400 annually at full time)
Deadline: March 1, 2024

The University of Washington Climate Impacts Group (CIG) is hiring a part-time (0.5 FTE) Environmental Outreach Specialist to serve as the State Climatologist for the Office of the Washington State Climatologist (OWSC), which is housed within CIG on the UW Seattle Campus. Although this position will remain open until filled, applicant screening will begin March 1st.

The State Climatologist plans and directs the activities of the Office of the Washington State Climatologist. OWSC underwent strategic planning in 2022, resulting in 4 strategic goals to support our mission:

  1. provide reputable climate data and interpretation
  2. broaden climate services through targeted engagement
  3. coproduce new applied climate research
  4. acquire resources for the sustainability of the Office

The State Climatologist will be responsible for creatively implementing the strategic plan, with flexibility to pursue these goals consistent with their interests and experience. A major component of this will be to fundraise to build capacity for OWSC staff to effectively implement the strategic plan. The State Climatologist will supervise and work closely with the Deputy State Climatologist to carry out the strategic plan and the responsibilities of the office. In addition, there could be opportunities to work with both undergraduate and graduate students to fulfill OWSC goals. Current funds support a half-time position, and additional fundraising and grant writing would be required to develop this role into a full-time position.

OWSC is housed within the Climate Impacts Group (CIG), and the State Climatologist will be part of a collaborative environment that includes a team of principal investigators. CIG supports the development of climate resilience by advancing understanding of climate risks & enabling science-based action to manage those risks.


The position of State Climatologist provides leadership for all OWSC activities, and responds to media requests, public presentation requests, and engages with state agencies and other decision makers. This position will direct the Deputy State Climatologist to fulfill the OWSC mission while executing on the bold expansion plans in the OWSC strategic plan. As part of the CIG, there is flexibility to pursue and delegate tasks to other CIG staff to execute on OWSC work and priorities as needed. This is a .5 FTE position, and the level of effort among the responsibilities will vary at different times:

  • Fundraising (40%): A critical portion of this position is ensuring the financial sustainability of OWSC, including research proposals and non-grant support for OWSC functions. The candidate will investigate opportunities for on-going support by articulating the value of the Office to different potential funders (state, University, private companies or donors) and work with University Advancement and the state relations office to put together proposals.
  • Applied research (20%): Serve as the lead principal investigator for OWSC and conduct applied climate research on regional weather, climate, and climate change. Research should be directly applicable to partners or other new audiences, and co-produced when relevant.
  • Public presentations and media (20%): A major role of OWSC is to put the current weather and seasonal climate in the context of both the historical climate record and climate change projections. The State Climatologist will engage with the media regularly and provide climate information to different sectors, governments, agencies, and the public across the state of Washington. The State Climatologist is a well-recognized public figure across the state who communicates in a clear, concise, and definitive manner to a wide range of audiences.
  • Engagement (20%): Develop and maintain an engagement plan that supports relationships with key public, private, non-profit and/or tribal partners. Maintain and enhance visibility of the work of OWSC through participation in relevant regional, national and/or international networks and events. Prioritize more in-depth engagement with new communities or sectors and vulnerable and underserved populations to collaboratively address climate information, capacity, and research needs. Build better partnerships across UW through working with undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs across College of the Environment.


  • Masters in meteorology, climatology, physics, physical geography, or other environmental field
  • 4 years experience in leading projects, fundraising and proposal preparation, ideally as a principal investigator
  • Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration
  • Experience presenting technical information to a variety of audiences, including non-specialists
  • Familiarity with co-producing research and tools/products
  • Evidence of advanced oral, written and interpersonal communication skills in engaging with diverse audiences, collaborators and staff


  • Ph.D. in meteorology, climatology, physics, physical geography, or other environmental field
  • Existing relationships with potential partners in WA state
  • Local weather and climate expertise, Pacific Northwest more broadly
  • Experience supervising and mentoring technical staff and students
  • Experience in working with media (across multiple platforms)
How to Apply:

At EarthLab, we focus on equity and justice in all that we do. Please submit a 1-page cover letter, please include your experience, lived or professional, in the area of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. 

The application process may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others. Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment, you will be prompted to do so the next time you your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are access ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 or dso@uw.edu.

Applicants considered for this position will be required to disclose if they are the subject of any substantiated findings or current investigations related to sexual misconduct at their current employment and past employment. Disclosure is required under Washington state law.