Job opportunity for a research engineer at CESBIO :
A multi-sensor approach for retrieving soil moisture over irrigated areas


Agriculture is an important pressure on water resources, especially in the Mediterranean countries where irrigation represents up to 80% of the consumptive uses of water. It now becomes necessary to improve on-farm irrigation management by adjusting the water supply to the crop water requirement all along the growing season. Modern irrigation agencies rely on in situ root zone soil moisture measurements to detect the onset of crop water stress and to trigger irrigations. However, in situ measurements are generally not available over extended areas.


The H2020-funded REC project ( proposes a remote sensing-based solution to the need of root-zone soil moisture at the crop scale for irrigation management. The methodology relies on the coupling between a surface model representing the water fluxes at the land surface-atmosphere interface and remote sensing data composed of land surface temperature (MODIS, Landsat), surface reflectances (MODIS, Landsat, Sentinel-2) and near-surface soil moisture (SMOS, Sentinel-1).

The candidate will participate to the REC activities by developing an algorithm to produce near-surface (0-5 cm) soil moisture maps at 100 m resolution over two irrigated areas in Spain and Morocco. In particular, she/he will:

  • Take ownership of the C4DIS processor developed as part of the French ground segment for the SMOS Level 3 and 4 data ( to provide 1 km resolution soil moisture data globally. C4DIS combines 40 km resolution SMOS soil moisture and 1 km resolution MODIS-derived evaporation rate within a downscaling relationship.
  • Adapt C4DIS to integrate data at higher spatial resolution. In practice, the 1 km resolution CATDS soil moisture data will be disaggregated at 100 m resolution using Landsat-derived evaporation rate.
  • Produce and evaluate the soil moisture maps at 100 m resolution over two study areas.


  • PhD/Engineering degree in informatics, remote sensing, environmental sciences, physics, ecohydrology or similar.
  • Good programming skills (codes will be developed in Python)
  • Experience in remote sensing and/or land surface modelling is an asset
  • Good written and spoken communication skills in English
  • Willingness to spend extended research visits at international partner institutes

What we offer

The position is limited to 1.5 year; expected beginning on September 1st 2017. The salary is based on the French regulations for university staff. The monthly salary for 35 hours per week will be within the range 1930 to 2408 based on qualifications and experience. The candidate will be based at CESBIO (Toulouse) and will have secondment opportunities to the partner organizations of REC (France and Morocco). A top-up allowance of 2000 per month will be payed to the candidate during the mobility periods.

How to apply

Send your application with all information (cover letter, motivation letter, CV) included in one single PDF file and the name and contact details of two referees (who can comment on the applicant's skills) to Olivier Merlin at The deadline for application is 31 May 2017.

posted: 20 March 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.