Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

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PhD Research Position Microwave Remote Sensing of Snow Covered Arctic First-year Sea Ice
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
University of Calgary
  • Graduate Position

The Department of Geography and the Cryosphere Climate Research Group at the University of Calgary invite applications for a PhD position in microwave remote sensing of snow covered Arctic first-year sea ice. This four-year position will be located at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Application deadline: 31 October 2017.

The focus of the research to be undertaken will be the development and application of space-borne and/or surface-based multi-frequency, multi-resolution microwave (Synthetic Aperature Radar and scatterometer) remote sensing datasets for improved characterization of Arctic snow covered first-year sea ice thermophysical processes over the annual cycle. Emphasis is placed on enhancing the existing capacity of space-borne multi-frequency, multi-resolution polarimetric microwave scatterometry for determining critical timings associated with the thermodynamic evolution of sea ice during the spring-summer seasonal cycle and determining regional scale variations of the thermodynamic and geophysical processes operating at the air-ocean interface. Special emphasis on determining/validating the snow water equivalent (SWE) on first-year sea ice will be of particular importance.

The objectives for this Ph.D. studentship will be focused around the development of a robust methodology for estimating snow thickness distributions on first-year sea ice (FYI) from time series surface-based polarimetric scatterometer data and provide “up- scaled” estimates using polarimetric space-borne Synthetic Aperature Radar (SAR) data (ie. RADARSAT-2, Sentinel-1A, Cosmo SkyMed, ALOS PALSAR). The successful candidate will also focus on developing a set of methodologies to infer the surface optical/radiative (albedo) properties of sea ice throughout the spring melt season from time series polarimetric microwave scattering. Opportunities for field work in the Canadian Arctic or sub-Arctic are likely in 2019 and/or 2020.

A Master’s degree in electrical engineering, geography, geomatics engineering, Earth or environmental science, geophysics, or related discipline; a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.5 on a four-point scale, or equivalent, in the previous two years of study; experience undertaking field research and an interest in working in the Arctic; and technical aptitude are required for this positon. Demonstrable experience working with and handling space-borne optical/SAR satellite datasets with specialization in Polarimetric SAR and previous knowledge in using SAR datasets for sea ice applications are advantageous. Demonstrated experience in producing peer-reviewed publications and programming experience in R, Python, IDL, or MATLAB will be an asset.

Applications must include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, transcripts, and contact information for three references.

Send application materials via email to John Yackel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about the Department of Geography, go to:
View Dept. of Geography Homepage

For questions, contact:
John Yackel
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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