Research Scientist / Post-Doc in hydrological modeling and data assimilation

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Organisation: Forschungszentrum Jülich

The organisation

The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Agrosphere (IBG-3) conducts research to improve our understanding of biogeochemical and hydrological processes in terrestrial systems. A combination of experiments, modelling and innovative observation technologies is used to bridge the gap between model, process and management scale. Its research contributes to the sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water and to the quantification of the effect of climate and land use change on terrestrial ecosystems. Forschungszentrum Jülich offers a competent and interdisciplinary working environment, as well as an excellent framework in the areas of experiments and modelling.

Earth system models have contributed significantly to improve the understanding of the dynamics of the global water cycle. However, these models indicate limitations due to the uncertainty of input data, boundary conditions of the model, parameterisation for model simplifications, and imperfect model structure. Earth Observation (EO) satellite missions provide invaluable estimates of atmospheric, hydrological and biophysical variables. From these EO missions, the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) and its follow-on mission (GRACE-FO), measurements can be used to estimate Terrestrial Water Storage Changes (TWSC), i.e. a vertical summation of surface and sub-surface water storage changes. In addition, various satellite missions provide Surface Soil Moisture (SSM) estimates, e.g. SMOS, SMAP, and Sentinel-1, which typically measure microwave emissions from Earth surface or backscatter returned from radar pulses. The organisation wants to bring together spaceborne observations with hydrological models to better describe the whole hydrological Earth system. The Project AssimEO focuses on hydrological simulation and multi-variate assimilation of TWSC and SSM observations to estimate the water available in different compartments for vegetation growth and plant production.

Your job

  • Hydrological simulation to estimate surface soil moisture and groundwater storage,
  • Estimate groundwater changes from GRACE and GRACE-FO by assimilation into a hydrological model,
  • Perform a multi-sensor data assimilation using SAR-based surface soil moisture simultaneously with TWSC observations,
  • Analyze the data assimilation results with respect to the total water supply for plant production,
  • Contribute to an international research team, publish in international journals and present results at international conferences

Your Profile

  • University degree in either hydrology, remote sensing, geosciences, computer science, physics, civil engineering or applied mathematics and a PhD degree in a related field
  • Experience in remote sensing and geoscientific simulation
  • Knowledge in the areas of land surface processes, parallelization, OpenMP and numerical methods is a clear advantage
  • Demonstrated programming skills with Python, R and/or Matlab/Octave
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in an international, interdisciplinary team across institutes; very good communication and organizational skills
  • Good publication record
  • Very good command of the English language, basic German is an asset

The Offer

  • Vibrant international and interdisciplinary work environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Employment for a fixed term of two years with the possibility of an extension
  • Full-time position with the option of slightly reduced working hours
  • Attendance at national and international conferences and workshops
  • Possibility for further scientific and technical training through international experts
  • An exceptional research infrastructure
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD)

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

They also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Forschungszentrum Jülich is looking forward to receiving your application, please contact Carsten Montzka by email (