JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources. Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and on Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before. JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology. They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and in communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to both contribute to and lead team efforts. We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment... to overcome space exploration's challenges. The Postdoctoral scholars at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare and other aspects of living in southern California.
The beginning of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission is imminent. The SWOT mission will be the first to simultaneously observe water surface elevation and surface area from space. Because it collects data over two 50 km swaths, it will be the first to create long and continuous profiles of rivers and lakes over the world. This novel source of data will enable transformative science by allowing us to probe enduring questions such as: How does liquid fresh water flow from summit to sea? How can we use the vantage point of orbiting satellites to understand the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands of the Earth? Your mission - your opportunity - is to bring us closer to answering these questions! If you are driven to discover, invent, and encourage future generations, you are ready for JPL!
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, seeks applications for 1 postdoctoral position in remote sensing of rivers, with emphasis on river discharge estimation based on wide swath altimetry data and/or datasets built from the fusion of multiple remote sensing platforms, e.g. SWOT, NISAR, Sentinel 1, and others. Dr. Renato Frasson, Scientist at JPL, will be the postdoctoral advisor of the selected candidate. Dr. Frasson is a member of the NASA’s SWOT science team and the SWOT algorithm definition team as well as a longstanding member of the SWOT Discharge Algorithm Working Group.
The selected researcher will use satellite data to advance hydrologic science. Example research endeavors include: 1) SWOT discharge inversions algorithms can make use of ancillary information, such as surface runoff, to better predict the needed parameters for the estimation of discharge. While datasets containing the minimum amount of errors are desirable, knowledge of their associated uncertainty is of utmost importance for their optimal use by the SWOT discharge inversion algorithms. The selected researcher will explore existing datasets and aid the selection of the most appropriate source of lateral inflow data to be incorporated in the discharge inversion workflow. 2) Some of the discharge inversion algorithms make use of a subset of SWOT observations for parameter estimation. The selection of the appropriate subset of observations is known to influence the quality of the inversions, nevertheless the criteria for the selection is not yet formalized. The selected researcher will formalize and automate this process and test the proposed procedure with new or existing SWOT-like observations. 3) The simultaneous observation of water surface elevation and river width to be made by SWOT has the potential to allow the estimation of water surface elevations from measurements of water surface area which can be done based on SAR or optical images obtained by, for example, NISAR, Sentinel 1, Landsat and others. Such endeavor would not only allow for increased temporal sampling but could also lead to the production of SWOT-like data beyond the life of the mission. The postdoctoral researcher would evaluate the feasibility of the idea, assess the quality of such data as well as derive uncertainty estimates for the new datasets. The selected candidate may be involved in a variety of activities and will actively collaborate with teams such as PO.DAAC, SWOT, among others.
The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature. Dr. Renato Frasson will serve as the JPL postdoctoral advisor to the selected candidate
Candidates should have a recent PhD in hydrology, civil engineering, geosciences, or a related discipline at the start of employment. A strong publication record in international peer-reviewed journals is preferred. Expertise in analysis and/or use of surface water remote sensing data for discharge estimation is also required; including but not limited to synthetic SWOT data or AirSWOT measurements, imagery from LandSat/Sentinel 2, or Sentinel 1. Knowledge of the SWOT’s unique spatiotemporal sampling characteristics will be prioritized. Proficiency in a varied computer-programming environment (Geographic Information Systems, Geospatial Python, Linux Shell Scripting, Cloud Computing, Google Earth Engine, etc.) will be prioritized. Experience with community software development and open source programming will be highly valued, as would expertise in river routing.
Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests