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RSA – Postdoctoral position in Improving crop water stress monitoring

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University
Morocco (MA)
Closing date
12 Jul 2024

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Earth Science, Environmental Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Job Details

CRSA – Postdoctoral position in Improving crop water stress monitoring through future thermal infrared missions.


About UM6P:

Located at the heart of the future Green City of Benguerir, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), a higher education institution with international standards, is established to contribute to the development of Morocco and the African continent. Its vision is honed around research and innovation at the service of education and development. This unique nascent university, with its state-of-the-art campus and infrastructure, has woven a sound academic and research network, and its recruitment process is seeking high quality academics and professionals in order to boost its quality-oriented research environment in the metropolitan area of Marrakech.

About CRSA:

CRSA is a transversal structure across several UM6P Programs. Research within the center is organized around several major areas that aim to ensure the challenging Food and Water security goal in Africa, with a special focus on developing methods/tools that use multi-source remotely sensed data. The research aims to improve our understanding of the integrated functioning of continental surfaces and their interaction with climate and humans, with emphasis on sustainable management of natural resources (soil, land, water, agriculture) in the context of Climate Change. One of center’s goals is to provide a set of services and operational products to users (local, national and international) that aid in the decision support of water and food systems.

Job Description:

Semi-arid regions are facing a serious problem of water stress. However, detecting the crop water need is of paramount importance for optimizing the irrigation water use over agricultural areas. The radiometric sunlit leaf temperature is related to the plant transpiration through the energy budget of the crop. Thermal infrared remote sensing data can hence be used to monitor the crop water status, independently from the water supply. Nevertheless, several difficulties need to be overcome: 1) separating the contribution of soil and vegetation in the remotely sensed land surface temperature; 2) representing the sunlit and shaded soil and plant components; and 3) considering the nonlinear response of canopy temperature to root zone soil moisture. The post-doctoral candidate will develop new crop water stress indices by combining thermal/Optical remote sensing data available at high spatial resolution, energy balance modeling, and a complete set of in situ measurements over several experimental sites. Our finding will be enhanced by the future thermal infrared (TIR) satellite missions such as TRISHNA (CNES/ISRO), LSTM (ESA) and SBG (NASA). With their high spatial (between 30-60m) and temporal (2- 3 days) resolutions, we aim to monitor spatio-temporal changes in various crop types, advancing surface flux modeling and crop stress detection.

Key duties:

1. Mapping the ET and its two components (soil evaporation and plant transpiration) at finer resolution consistent with hydrological and agricultural applications,

2. Development of new stress indices by operating the thermal based energy balance model.

3. Link the root zone soil moisture to water stress indices.

4. Developing a new early water stress indicator that could be used in addition to LST-derived indices.

5. Participate in field data collection and validation to support model accuracy.

6. Publish research findings in peer-reviewed journals and present results at conferences and workshops.

7. Mentor master students and PhDs.



-Ph.D. in Remote Sensing, Geospatial Science, Environmental Science, Data Science, or related field.

-Strong background in remote sensing data analysis, image processing, and geospatial analysis.

-Experience working with thermal satellite imagery (e.g., Landsat, MODIS) and other remote sensing data sources.

- Expertise in different software (ENVI, ARCGIS, MRT)

- Programming skills in Matlab and Python.

- Enthusiasm towards the participation to the field campaigns.

- Good oral and writing communication skills in French and English represent a significant benefit.

- Enthusiasm towards research and a passion for solving challenging problems that require complex creative solutions

- Open minded and interdisciplinary thinking







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