Scientist (m/f/x)

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)

Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Area of research:

Scientific / postdoctoral posts

Job description:

The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. With approximately 1.280 employees (including visiting scientists), the GFZ is conducting interdisciplinary research on the “System Earth” and the influence of humans on the planet. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, it is part of Germany’s largest science organization. For Section 1.2 "Global Geomonitoring and Gravity Field" outer branch in Oberpfaffenhofen (near Munich) we invite applications for a

Job Vacancy No. 3408

GFZ’s Section 1.2 current main focus is on the GRACE-FO (Follow-On) mission, which was implemented as a NASA-GFZ partnership and successfully launched in May 2018. The project AHOWAG (“Ableitung von Hochwasserindikatoren aus GRACE-FO Missionsdaten”), funded by the German Space Agency (DLR), promotes the operational and scientific exploitation of the mission data. Here, daily global gravitational field solutions based on gravitational gradients in orbit height shall be calculated in near real time (NRT), converted into anomalies of continental water storage and flood indicators derived from them. Innovative scientific and operational approaches shall be developed for this purpose. In particular, the project also serves the analysis, and evaluation of the Laser Ranging Interferometer (LRI) operated for the first time on GRACE-FO as a technology demonstrator. The development of a processing chain from satellite data to flood indicators with a latency of 1 to 2 days prepares the user-oriented transfer of the approaches into operational flood forecasting systems such as GloFAS (the Global Flood Awareness System in the Copernicus Emergency Management Service EMS) as well as for improved information acquisition during flood disasters by the Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at DLR. Flood indicators will be evaluated on a global basis for historical flood events registered in the database of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO), using runoff time series and classical hydrological indicators such as rainfall indices, base runoff, or satellite-based soil moisture. The project opens up synergies with Copernicus EMS by further developing preparatory work within the Horizon2020 project EGSIEM (European Gravity Service for Improved Emergency Management, 2015-2017) and transferring it to the current earth observation mission GRACE-FO.The scientist working in Section 1.2 will cover all gravity field aspects within AHOWAG.

Your responsibilities:

  • development of a software to calculate gravitational gradients at orbital heights based on GRACE-FO instrument data and geophysical background models
  • implementation of the software into our inhouse software EPOS (Earth Parameter and Orbit System)
  • extensive simulation runs to validate the approach
  • improvement of LRI data analysis (outlier detection, optimal parameterization etc.)
  • application of the gradient approach to real GRACE and GRACE-FO KBR (K-Band Ranging) and LRI data
  • calculation of daily gravity field solutions in terms of spherical harmonics based on these gravity gradients and optimally combined with normal equations of previous days. For this, test scenarios have to be investigated based on available daily GRACE normal equation systems.
  • implementation of an automated processing chain to provide NRT input to GFZ’s hydrology group
  • preparation of a corresponding software documentation
  • presentation of results in project meetings, symposia, and in scientific journals

Your qualifications:

  • Master’s degree and PhD in Geodesy or equivalent
  • expertise in satellite geodesy
  • extended experience in Precise Orbit Determination and estimation of gravity field parameters from satellite tracking data
  • extended experience in evaluating the space-geodetic observations high-low GNSS, low-low inter-satellite links, SLR, and others
  • expertise in least squares adjustment (observation level) and linear algebra (normal equation level)
  • expertise in data processing under LINUX and shell scripting
  • expertise in FORTRAN
  • ability to work independently
  • ability and willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team and to communicate with external partners
  • good command of English

Starting date: as soon as possible
Fixed term: limited to 12 months
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet West)”. The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: full-time (currently 39 h/week)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen (near Munich) You can expect a very diverse and challenging job in an international work environment that is characterized by exciting research projects. The compatibility of work and family life is of particular concern to the GFZ. Therefore, it offers the opportunity for flexible working time and workplaces. Moreover, there is a kindergarten located on the research campus.The GFZ is a partner with Geo.X (, and as such it is well connected with other geoscience institutions in Potsdam und Berlin. Geo.X forms the largest regional cluster of geoscientific expertise in Europe and offers excellent opportunities for cooperation and development.Please submit your application online by 18th October 2019 (extended) using the "Apply" button.Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore we are particularly welcoming applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons will be given preferential treatment in the case of equal qualification.We will retain your application documents for at least three months, even if the application is not successful.If you have any questions regarding this job offer, please feel free to call Ms Buge at +49 (0) 331-288-28878.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 15127254