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Visiting Scientist I in Greenbelt, MD at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 7/25/2018

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type:
  • Location:
    Greenbelt, MD
  • Job Type:
  • Experience:
    Not Specified
  • Date Posted:

Job Description

This position will conduct research directed at understanding ocean optics, biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics including high spatial and temporal variability.  This research will emphasize the marine carbon cycle and the interactions and feedbacks between biological (e.g., primary production), chemical (e.g., organic carbon and nutrient balances and fluxes), and physical processes (river discharge, mixed layer dynamics, circulation, etc.) and entails working with optical and chemical field data sets, satellite data products from various sensors, and model results. The scope of the work will include processing and analysis of in situ radiometric measurements, satellite data processing and analysis, and radiative transfer simulations. Research activities may involve the development and evaluation of satellite products for existing satellite sensors and in preparation for the PACE mission and possibly participation in field campaigns.  This research is conducted in support of the NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program.


Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Code development, processing and analysis of hyperspectral above-water radiometry measurements (e.g., HyperSAS) and in-water radiometry profiles to derive UV-Vis water-leaving radiances and light attenuation coefficient. Perform quality control verification and estimation of uncertainties on these datasets.  Submit radiometry data to SeaBASS.
  • Organize field observations from various sources, obtain coincident satellite data, validate and refine existing satellite algorithms and develop/evaluate novel algorithms employing hyperspectral UV and visible observations for specific coastal regions and global ocean.
  • Process remote sensing data from multiple satellite sensors (e.g., MODIS, MERIS, OLCI, OLI, SGLI, VIIRS) to generate a series of ocean optical and biogeochemical products including light attenuation, constituent absorption and backscatter, suspended sediment load, carbon stocks and fluxes, and phytoplankton pigment stocks.
  • Apply in situ measurements and satellite data products listed above to quantify trends in these variables over the past 20 years in North American Arctic Rivers and coastal seas.
  • Possible deployment on a field campaign to Arctic rivers and coastal seas.
  • Submit a minimum of one manuscript per year for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Preparation of reports of own scientific and other activity for purposes of annual reports to NASA, annual GESTAR report, and annual evaluation of GESTAR staff/scientists.
  • Engage the academic community in research work through research collaborations, visits, invited guests, workshops, conferences, etc.
  • Develop an awareness of NASA’s mission needs and address them to the best of ability.
  • Maintain an awareness of funding opportunities in area of expertise through internal and external funding agencies; seek and obtain funding to ensure continuation and growth of research efforts.
  • Complete all trainings as required.
  • Other job related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:


Bachelor’s degree in the Natural Sciences and a Ph.D. in Oceanography, Marine Science, Remote Sensing Science or closely related field.


  • Expertise in processing of ocean radiometric data.
  • Knowledge and research experience in oceanography and ocean color satellite remote sensing.
  • Experience working with large field datasets.


 Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Programming experience required, including MATLAB and/or other programming languages.
  • Familiarity with SeaDAS/l2gen preferred.
  • Good communication and writing skills are essential for presenting the results in publications and at scientific meetings.
  • Function independently or as part of a team, with minimal direct supervision.
  • Propose credible and innovative research projects, develop the necessary skills to perform the work, and carry out the research, providing the required reporting to the granting agency in a timely fashion.
  • Proposal writing experience, a plus.



  • Communicate effectively by speaking, listening and write in a clear, thorough and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques; communicate with a broad range of scientists and engineers in a high-pressure, results-oriented context.
  • Speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.
  • Work cooperatively and effectively with others in a research environment to set goals, resolve problems and make decisions that enhance team effectiveness.
  • Establish priorities and make effective decisions daily to promote the advancement of science.
  • Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem.


Working Conditions:

Work will be performed in an office or computer lab environment.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; talk or hear.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day may be a significant part of this position.




Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity