🌌 Postdoctoral Position: Internal Waves from in-situ and SWOT measurements


Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources. Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before. JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology. They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to contribute to and lead team efforts. We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges. The postdocs at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare, and other aspects of living in southern California.  

The SWOT oceanography team at JPL/NASA is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work on a three-year National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) project in collaboration with scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Scripps Oceanographic Institution (SIO). This NOPP project is titled “A Distributed Network of Internal Wave Resolving Moored Arrays for Assessing Tide-Resolving Model Fields and Improving Forecasts in the Coastal Ocean”. The project will deploy an Internal Wave Resolving (IWR) Array of CPIES and ADCP moorings, and address scientific topics such as internal gravity wave processes, (smaller) mesoscale eddy dynamics and/or wave-eddy interactions in both the in-situ and the SWOT measurements.  

The first year CPIES deployment will be conducted jointly with the SWOT post-launch field campaign at the SWOT mission calibration and validation site in the California Current. The motivated candidate is encouraged to participate in the deployment/recovery cruises supervised by experienced sea-going scientists from WHOI and SIO, and analyze the collected in-situ data. The work in the second and third year involves potential additional cruises, comparing in-situ observations and SWOT measurements collected during the 90-day fast sampling phase, and understanding the utility of SWOT measurement in studying internal wave propagation, internal wave processes and energetics.   
We will closely collaborate with a sister NOPP project “Diagnosis and Validation of the Time and Spatial Variability of Remotely Generated Internal Waves in Global Ocean Simulations” conducted jointly by University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the University of Michigan (U-M), and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). While near-field internal waves are reasonably well measured and simulated, our knowledge of far-field internal waves is lacking. The sister NOPP project will use the IWR and SWOT data to validate global ocean simulations and improve our understanding of internal wave processes. The generation, propagation, and dissipation of remote internal waves is relevant for predicting coastal processes in regional simulations, the de-tiding of SWOT measurements, ocean acoustics, and water-mass mixing, which impacts ocean circulation and ultimately the Earth’s climate.  

The candidate will work within a dynamic team that has a full spectrum of expertise in high-resolution modelling and data assimilation, in-situ observations, satellite remote sensing (SWOT), and theory. 


  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. in physical oceanography or a similar field.
  • Applicants must also have a publication record that illustrates the ability to conduct and communicate independent research as well as experience and proficiency in working with observations, model output, coding, time series analysis, and a good understanding of the ocean dynamics especially internal wave processes and wave-eddy interactions.

Please submit a CV including a publication list, a cover letter that includes a brief description of current and future research interests as well as names and contact information of three references. The due date for applications is November 15, 2022. Applications should be sent as a single PDF to this site. Questions about the position may be sent to Jinbo.Wang@jpl.nasa.gov.

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, Dr. Jinbo Wang, resulting in publications in the open literature.

Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoc positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

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United States, JPL Campus, Pasadena, California
Posted 2 months ago
Job offer closed
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