Local recruitment: Delta-X Postdoc-1 (2 positions)

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Pasadena, CA, USA 🇺🇸

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

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.

Delta-X is a NASA funded airborne mission to study the resilience and vulnerability of the Mississippi River Delta to relative sea level rise (RSLR).  There are two airborne and field campaigns to collect data that serve to calibrate hydrodynamic and ecological models. The hydrodynamic model is a means to estimate the amount of sediment being delivered to wetlands through channel-island connectivity. The ecological model produces plant growth estimates to estimate its impact on flow and also its contribution to soil elevation from root production.  The calibrated models are then used to predict which part of the delta will survive or sink within the next century. 

We are looking for two candidates:

1) Remote Sensing: one with strong remote sensing skills including use of radar interferometry.

2) Coastal Hydrology: one hydrodynamic modeling skills with focus on wetlands or coastal hydrology.

Strong Python programming skills is a requirement for both candidates.

Delta-X collected a very large amount of remote sensing data using the AirSWOT, UAVSAR and AVIRISNG instruments. The radars, UAVSAR and AirSWOT, measure the water surface slope in open water channels and the change in water level with the marshes respectively.  They are used to estimate the flow of water across the landscape. This project will make use of several additional spaceborne datasets which include Lidar-derived DEMs, TanDEM-X, Landsat, Sentinel-1/2, ALOS/PALSAR-1/2, along with available GIS layer.

The Hydrology will collaborate with the Delta-X team to improve large scale modeling and improvement of the multiscale (e.g. nested) models. The candidate will also use remote sensing measurements to validate the models.  The calibration of the hydrodynamic models is iterative with comparison to remote sensing measurement, fine tuning input parameters such as depth and friction. The Delta-X team will also provide information relative to seasonal changes in vegetation structure, which impact the friction. Thus, the model will simulate seasonality to improve annual sediment delivery estimates.

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor Dr. Marc Simard, resulting in publications in the open literature.

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.

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

Apply By: ASAP