Postdoctoral Researcher: Satellite-Based Data Assimilation for Soil Moisture Estimation

Category : Model, position opening

We are searching for an enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher with experience in land surface modeling and/or data assimilation to implement advanced modules into an existing global land surface data assimilation system. You will be part of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Division Soil and Water Management, at the KU Leuven (Belgium), working under the supervision of prof. Gabrielle De Lannoy.

Soil moisture is a key variable in the water, energy and carbon cycle over land. The objective of this project is to merge large-scale land surface simulations with satellite-based microwave observations, using an advanced data assimilation scheme which corrects for both the random and persistent errors in soil moisture estimates. The improved soil moisture time series will help enhancing subsequent predictions of flooding, landslides, soil and vegetation carbon, deeper groundwater and the atmospheric boundary layer.

Our team

- Perform and disseminate highly qualitative research related to land surface modeling, observation and data assimilation
- Possibly supervise PhD or master thesis students

- PhD degree in Hydrology, Civil or Environmental Engineering, Meteorology, Remotely Sensed Earth Observation, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, or equivalent
- Experience with data-processing applications such as Matlab/Python, IDL,GrADS, R, or other
- Experience in programming and scientific computing
- Excellent motivation and grades
- Creative, critical, analytical and innovative mindset
- Ability to work independently
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, proven in publications

- 2-year position with a competitive salary; support in career development
- Multi-disciplinary and international professional environment
- Leuven is a charming historical university town, located in the heart of Western Europe

Only persons matching the above profile should apply. Please submit your resume, along with a motivation letter and two names for references on-line. The start date is 1 June 2017, but earlier or later start dates can be negotiated. For more information please contact prof. Gabrielle De Lannoy, tel.: +32 16 37 67 13, mail:

Apply for this job no later than 15 May, 2017 via the online application tool. The position will remain open until filled by an excellent candidate.

Research Engineer ‘Sea Surface Salinity retrieval from SMOS satellite measurements’

Category : L2, position opening

A research engineer position is opened at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat – Expérimentation et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN)/ Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), PARIS, starting as soon as possible. The position is for one year, likely renewable for 2 years.

Context :

The SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) mission is the first satellite mission carrying an L-band radiometer interferometer. Since its launch, end of 2009, it acquired over 5 years of data that demonstrate the feasibility of the sea surface salinity measurement by L-band radiometry, the capability of the interferometry technique, and it opens new research topics. The LOCEAN team has been involved since 1999 in the definition of direct and inverse models applicable to SMOS. It is one of the ESA Expert Support Laboratory in charge of the definition of the algorithms used for retrieving salinity from SMOS brightness temperatures in the ESA operational chain. The selected candidate will be in charge of the improvement of existing algorithms, dealing in particular with data selection, configuration of the baysian retrieval, radiative transfer model, in close collaboration with researchers and engineers of the laboratory.

The selected candidate will join the LOCEAN IPSO (Interactions et Processus au sein de la couche de Surface Océanique) team involved in the physics of the L-band radiometry, in the satellite salinity validation and in understanding  the processes responsible for the differences observed between satellite and in situ measurements, in particular those linked  to air-sea interaction, vertical stratification and small-scale variability ( and

Work details :

- Developpement of new algorithms for improving the retrieval of the salinity from SMOS mission ; collaboration with the industrial for their implementation in the processor chain

- Relationship with other ESA expert support laboratory and with the company in charge of the evolutions and the maintenance of the processor: participation to weekly teleconference of the SMOS ESA level 2 ocean team and attending the progress meetings (3 per year). Writing of technical papers and participation to scientific papers is possible, depending on the algorithms improvements.

Required Skills:
-          Physics of satellite measurement
-          Data processing and statistics
-          Knowledge of LINUX and C
-          Matlab and/or Python
-          Autonomy and team collaborative working

Welcome Skills:
-          Optimization for huge data processing
-          Interest for environmental science

Level: Research Engineer (PhD thesis or equivalent)

Address : LOCEAN, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Tour 45-55, 5E, 4, place Jussieu, 75005 PARIS, FRANCE.

Salary : about € 1900 net, commensurable with qualification and experience of the candidate (CNRS salary grid)

Candidates should send a statement of interest, CV and coordinates of 2 referees to  Jacqueline Boutin ( and Nicolas Martin (

PhD opening

Category : position opening

Dr Mike Schwank who is looking for a PhD student that would like to work within the project:
"Active/Passive Microwave Remote Sensing in Application to ”Vegetation & Soil” and “Snow & Soil” (MicroVegSnow) funded by the "Swiss National Science Foundation" (SNF).

A summary of the project goals and approaches can be accessed from:

Applicants interested in this position please go to:

Research Assistant or Research Associate in Land Surface Modeling and Soil Moisture Scaling

Category : position opening

Research Assistant or Research Associate in Land Surface Modeling and Soil Moisture Scaling
Summary: A postdoctoral position is available to evaluate the performance of the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) in reproducing soil moisture dynamics and key land-atmosphere interactions in the UK at hyper-spatial resolution in combination with novel cosmic-ray soil moisture technology and remote sensing products. A PhD in meteorology/hydrology or related disciplines (e.g. environmental science) with an interest in land-atmosphere interactions, numerical modeling, remote sensing, and data assimilation is essential.

This 30-month appointment (with potential extension to 36 months) is part of the NERC-funded project AMUSED (A MUlti-scale Soil moisture-Evapotranspiration Dynamics study) whose ultimate goal is to identify the spatiotemporal scale-dependency of key dominant processes that control changes in soil moisture and land-atmosphere interactions. AMUSED will employ new innovative technology for soil moisture monitoring using cosmic-rays sensors in combination with land surface modeling, satellite remote sensing, and data assimilation methods. Some fieldwork will take place, especially at the initial stages of the project to deploy and install/calibrate cosmic-ray soil moisture sensors. For more information about AMUSED, please visit

Required skills include experience using land surface models (e.g., JULES, CLM, Noah, VIC) to predict soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions, some programming knowledge (e.g., Fortran or C) and experience with Linux operating system, demonstrated ability to publish peer-reviewed papers, effective written and oral communication skills, willingness to work in a team, in an academic research environment, and development collaborative links.

Desired skills include knowledge of hydrometeorology, land-atmosphere interactions, data assimilation and/or remote sensing, and some previous experience with fieldwork activities.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Rafael Rosolem (

To apply, please visit

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