Post Doctorate Scholar — Penn State Meteorology and Atmospheric Science

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 showing 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 Tropospheric Composition group in the Earth Science Section of the Science Division at JPL ( is seeking a postdoctoral researcher. Our group uses satellite and ground based measurements, data assimilation and modeling to study the composition of the Earth’s troposphere. Our research focuses on developing methods for remote sensing of atmospheric composition and on Earth system modeling to better understand carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles and the emissions and transport of tropospheric ozone and ozone precursors.

A successful candidate will support activities related to validation and scientific utilization of satellite measurements of carbon dioxide from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory missions, OCO-2 ( -oco-2) and OCO-3, (

OCO-2, in orbit since 2014, has provided global observations of the column-averaged dry-air mole fraction of carbon dioxide (XCO2) with precision of better than 1 ppm. OCO-3, installed on the International Space Station in 2019, is making similar measurements with improved ability to make more detailed measurements of geographic regions of interest for understanding anthropogenic and natural CO2 emissions (urban areas, power plants, volcanoes).


A key aspect of both missions is to validate the space-based measurements against independent data sets, which provides information about biases and errors in the data and allows data users to have confidence in using the data sets. The validation plan for both missions centers around comparisons of the retrieved XCO2 from the satellite to the ground based data from the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON). Other validation data sets and models (eg CAMS, CarbonTracker) have also been used to help augment our understanding of the satellite observations. Recently, portable, low resolution, spectrometers (Bruker EM27/SUN), similar to the spectrometers used in the TCCON observations have been applied to make observations of greenhouse gases. These portable instruments have allowed for multiple observations within an urban area or other geographic areas allowing for regional studies of greenhouse gases, with some focus on carbon dioxide. These regional studies and availability of validation data from different locations are providing new opportunities for understanding the satellite estimates of XCO2. This use of EM27/SUN data acquired around the globe, making the observations, retrieving the data and using them with satellite and TCCON measurements is the basis of this research opportunity. JPL, working with Caltech, has two EM27/SUN instruments that could allow for a regional science and validation study of the Los Angeles basin and possibly other locations as well. We envision part of the research study involving using data from the JPL EM27/SUN instruments, OCO-2, OCO-3, TCCON and other surface instruments in the Southern California area.


Required qualifications:

  • PhD in Atmospheric Science, Earth Sciences, Geophysics or a related technical field
  • Demonstrated ability to write and publish scientific results
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • Experience with analysis of remotely-sensed data products involving large datasets.


  • Experience in use of analysis of data from ground-based spectrometers, preferably EM27/SUN
  • Experience in working with instrumentation for remote sensing of the atmosphere
  • Persistence, creativity and willingness to try new approaches to overcome complex problems

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, Greg Osterman, resulting in publications in the open literature.

Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoctoral Scholar 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 US or have other protected status under 8 USC 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

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