Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


Job Board

Postdoctoral opportunity in Data science applied to the rifting and calving of ice shelves and glaciers/ice streams
Pasadena, California, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher

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 postdoc will be working in the ISSM (Ice-Sheet and Sea-Level System Model) team of the Sea Level and Ice Group (329C) at JPL. The Sea Level and Ice Group develops and uses the remotely sensed data products and measurements for sea-level change analysis as well as Earth system models for ocean and ice.

The postdoc will:

  • Interact with the modelers and data scientists, to improve on the data assimilation as well as data science products relating to ice shelves and ice streams in Antarctica and glaciers in Greenland.
  • The goal is to develop through machine learning algorithms and existing satellite imagery a record of calving front positions, rifting and crevasse distribution,  melange thickness, and sea-ice thickness of all the major ice shelves of Antarctica, and major ice streams/glaciers of Greenland.
  • The record will then be interfaced with the modeling runs of the ISSM team in hindcast mode, to improve the calibration of projections of the contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to sea-level rise.
  • Publish results in peer reviewed journals.


  • Applicants should have a Ph.D.
  • Extensive knowledge of machine learning algorithms, computer vision, processing of satellite imagery such as LandSat dataset towards building science data products.
  • Be knowledgeable with either Matlab, Python, or Julia.
  • Proficient in C/C++ code development and parallel computing.

Knowledge of an existing Earth science modeling or machine learning framework is a plus.

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, Eric Larour.

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.

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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