Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Satellite Remote Sensing of Volcanic Ash and Cloud

Department of Physics, Robert Hooke Building, Oxford
Grade 7: £32,817 - £40,322 p.a.

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Satellite Imager Measurement of Volcanic and Meteorological Clouds. The post is available initially for a fixed-term duration of 2 years.

This principal aim of the post is to investigate atmospheric processes surrounding volcanic ash clouds. The successful candidate will use the Optimal Retrieval of Aerosol and Cloud (ORAC) algorithm ( to estimate ash cloud properties using observations from satellite imagers (e.g. MODIS, SEVIRI, HIMAWARI, SLSTR). The work involves deriving uncertainty-bounded estimates of ash type, ash cloud-top height, effective particle radius and optical depth at pixel-level spatial resolution and using that data to investigate the evolution of ash over the course of an eruption. A smaller part of the project involves contributing to ESA's Climate Change Initiative by extending the long-term record of meteorological cloud properties with new measurements from the SLSTR instrument.

The successful candidate will conduct original research focusing on satellite measurements of volcanic ash. The project forms part of Oxford's work for Radar-supported Next-Generation Forecasting of Volcanic Ash Hazard (R4AsH) consortium. A secondary responsibility is to apply ORAC to derive cloud properties from SLSTR measurements.

Applicants should possess, or be very close to obtaining, a doctorate in physics, computer science, mathematics, volcanology or a related field and ideally have a strong background in scientific computing. Practical experience with radiative transfer (e.g. DISORT) and/or remote sensing will be preferred. Candidates should demonstrate excellent scientific computing skills, including knowledge of UNIX/Linux and the manipulation of satellite data.

The postholder will have the opportunity, if desired, to teach undergraduates and supervise research projects.

The post is available initially for a fixed-term duration of 2 years.

Only applications received before 12.00 midday on 24 June 2020 can be considered.

Please direct enquiries about the role to Professor Don Grainger (

posted: 19 May 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.