Position opening:  Research Engineer M/F Remote sensing of sea surface salinity


Contract duration: 12 months renewable

Expected hiring date: December, 2020 or later

Work share: Full time

Remuneration: from about 2400 € gross monthly (commensurable with experience)

Desired level of study: PhD

Desired experience: 1 to 4 year

Missions :

-Advance the understanding of the phenomena influencing L-band radiometric satellite measurements, in particular SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) measurements; propose improvements to model brightness temperatures and retrieve salinity over the ocean

Activities :

Nearly 11 years of satellite measurements of salinity at the ocean surface (SSS) are now available thanks to the SMOS (2010-), SMAP (2015-) and Aquarius (2011-2015) missions. The candidate will focus on the retrieval of the SMOS SSS in order to propose improvements to the algorithms implemented in the operational centres (SMOS ‘Centre Aval de Traitement des Données SMOS’, CATDS, and Data Processing Ground Sepment , DPGS, of the European Space Agency). SSS remote sensing is based on the sensitivity of the sea surface emissivity to the salinity at 1.4GHz, but other phenomena (e.g. sea surface roughness, atmospheric and galactic signals) also influence the radiometric measurement. The quality of the retrieved SSS thus depends on the quality of the brightness temperatures reconstructed from the SMOS inteferometric measurements, the radiative transfer model used and the auxiliary data used as input to the retrieval. The candidate will evaluate the uncertainties associated with these different elements, in the light of existing validations and from dedicated validation exercises. Through his knowledge of measurement physics, he will be able to make propositions concerning the evolution of the radiative transfer model and the salinity retrieval process. He will interact with scientists to advise on the use of SMOS SSS and to qualify the qualities of the data from an oceanographic point of view. He will participate in the follow-up of projects (CATDS centre of expertise and ESA expert support laboratories).


  • – Satellite remote sensing
  • – Environmental sciences
  • – Data analysis and critical interpretation of results
  • – English fluent
  • – Autonomy and teamwork skills
  • – Python / Matlab; LINUX

Working context

The Laboratoire d’Oceanographie et du Climat – Expérimentation et Approches numériques (LOCEAN), part of Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), is a joint research laboratory between French CNRS, IRD, Sorbonne Université and Museum national d’histoire naturelle, dedicated mostly to physical and biogeochemical oceanographic research and the role of the ocean in climate variability. These studies are tackled both by observational and experimental means (oceanographic campaigns, merchant ships, buoys, instrument development, satellite measurements) and by modelling, theoretical and numerical (3-dimension ocean general circulation model). It includes almost two hundred scientists, engineers and technicians, mostly in the Paris area. It carries numerous cruises for scientific research or monitoring purposes, and has also experience in different ocean observing systems, in particular drifters, which it has contributed to develop, as well as gliders and other observing platforms. LOCEAN is actively participating in University teaching and supervision of PhD students. The candidate will join the PROTEO team.

SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is the first Earth observation satellite mission to carry an L-band interferometric radiometer. Launched at the end of 2009, it has now acquired nearly 11 years of data, demonstrating the feasibility of satellite surface salinity measurement and the contribution of interferometric technology. LOCEAN teams have been working on measurement optimization since 1999 and use satellite salinities for scientific purposes. This new type of measurement appeared particularly innovative to characterize tropical instability waves, river plumes, rain signatures, tropical mesoscale ocean structures, signatures related to El Niño events. The work of this ingeneer will be part of projects funded by CNES and European Space Agency aimed at consolidating and enhancing the measures acquired.  LOCEAN is an expertise center for the SSS retrieval at  CNES/CATDS and at ESA.

Additional information:

This CDD, with an initial duration of one year, may be renewed for one or two years.

Please answer with a CV, letter of motivation and the name of two references on https://emploi.cnrs.fr/Offres/CDD/UMR7159-JACBOU-004/Default.aspx