Research Engineer/Post‐Doctoral position: Snow Monitoring from Space, Toulouse, France


Research Engineer/Post‐Doctoral position: Snow Monitoring from Space   One‐year position (CNES contract) – Starting date expected September 2011

Job description:

The  work  will  focus  on  remote  sensing  of  snow  over  mountain  ranges  surrounding  the  Mediterranean  Sea.  Snow  plays  the  role  of  a  hydrological  reservoir  in  winter  and  spring  that  reduces  the  impact  of  summer  droughts.  Snowmelt  may  represent  a  very  important  part  of  downstream flows in Mediterranean regions, e.g. up to 50% in Lebanon and Moroccan mountains.  Furthermore, since snow is not directly impacted by human activities, it is an excellent indicator of  climatic changes. A long‐term monitoring of the snow cover would allow a better understanding of  the climatic variability and trends.

In this context, the applicant will contribute to the development of a processing chain adapted to  study  snow  from  data  acquired  by  large  field‐of‐view  sensors  (AVHRR,  since  1989;  SPOT‐ VEGETATION, since 1998; MODIS, since 2000). The objective is to characterize the space and time  variations of snow‐covered areas over Mediterranean mountain ranges. Preprocessing algorithms  for  geometric  and  radiometric  corrections  will  be  applied  in  order  to  inter‐compare  and  homogenize  the  various  satellite  data  sets.  The  applicant  will  develop  methods  to  analyze  time  series  of  remotely‐sensed  snow  indices  and  to  derive  indicators  describing  the  space  and  time  (seasonal  and  inter‐annual)  dynamics  of  snowpacks.  He  will  test  several  methods  to  generate  cloud  masks  and  time  composite  synthesis  following  different  criteria  and  time  steps.  The  applicant will perform evaluation through quantitative (comparison with ground ‘truth’ and high  spatial resolution satellite images) and qualitative (space‐time consistency, cross comparison with  derivatives of digital elevation model...) tests.

Suitable expertise and skills:

  • Ph.D. related to Earth Sciences and/or engineer diploma in Computer Sciences.
  • Excellent  knowledge  of  programming  languages  and  methods  (Open‐Source:  Python,  Gdal,  Orfeo ToolBox, R; computing environment IDL/ENVI, MATLAB...).
  • Experience in signal processing and, as an asset, basic knowledge in Climatic Sciences.


For  any  information  or  application  (CV  +  cover  letter),  please  contact  us  at  the  following  addresses:,

Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère – UMR 5126 (UPS-CNRS-CNES-IRD) Adresse postale : 18, avenue Edouard Belin – bpi 2801 – 31401 Toulouse Cedex 4 – France