Data Scientist position: Computer vision and other AI techniques in support ocean, atmospheric aerosol, and cloud remote sensing

The Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research II (GESTAR II) consortium at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) invites applications for a data scientist position in Physical Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics, Mathematics, or related field. 


The incoming scientist will join the NASA GSFC Ocean Ecology Laboratory ( to develop novel computer vision and other AI techniques in support of ocean, atmospheric aerosol, and cloud remote sensing. The candidate should be an independent scientist who:

  • can apply state of the art methods in the analysis and processing of unique remote sensing data, such as those from multi-angle polarimeters,
  • is dedicated to our goal of producing scientifically relevant geophysical data products, and
  • is able to communicate and interact effectively with non-specialists to implement practical solutions at scale.   


The position will primarily support two forthcoming NASA missions. The NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem Mission (PACE, will be launched in 2024. PACE will have three passive sensors with groundbreaking spectral, polarimetric and multi-angle observing capability. The NASA Atmosphere Observing System Mission (AOS, will utilize multiple active and passive sensors on several spacecraft launched in the 2028-2030 timeframe for observation of atmospheric aerosols, clouds, convection and precipitation. Both missions will have passive, polarimetrically sensitive, imagers that make multi-angle observations in the UV-SWIR. The corresponding data are very rich, but efficient analysis and processing at a global remote sensing scale is the core challenge the successful applicant will address.  


Required Qualifications:

  • Degree in Physical Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics, Mathematics, or related field and minimum of 4 years of relevant experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with scientific programming in C/C++, Fortran, Python, IDL or equivalent.
  • Experience applying machine learning methods to solve computer vision and similar problems.


Desired Experience

  • Satellite data geolocation and projection.
  • Atmosphere, ocean and land surface radiative transfer. Creation of machine learning radiative transfer emulators.  
  • Remote sensing of the ocean, atmosphere and land surface.
  • Remote sensing with passive multi-angle polarimetric instruments.
  • Scientific software development in a high-performance computing environment.
  • Application of Bayesian inference techniques.
  • Evaluation / validation of satellite observations against reference data sources.

The successful candidate will join the GESTAR II Consortium which supports over 120 researchers based primarily at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). GESTAR II researchers work to create extensive opportunities for breakthroughs in earth and atmospheric science research, carrying out observational, experimental and theoretical research in support of NASA strategic Earth Science mission objectives.


Goddard’s Earth Science Division is home to about 200 civil servants and over 1200 collaborating researchers and support personnel, dedicated to studying the Earth as an integrated system that includes the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, and geosphere. The Division operates as a component of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate that collaborate on interdisciplinary research with the Astrophysics Science, Heliophysics Science, and Solar System Exploration Divisions.


The nominal starting date is early spring, but alternate dates are possible depending on availability. 


Candidates should provide a cover letter, CV (including publication list) and a 3-page statement of research interests. Short-listed candidates will be asked to supply three letters of reference at a later date. All materials and inquiries should be sent by email Subject line: Task 175: Researcher Position to: Halley Thompson (


Completed applications received by February 17, 2023, will receive full consideration, however the posting will remain open until the position is filled.


Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. The GESTAR II consortium and NASA GSFC are committed to building a diverse research community and encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. All GESTAR II institutions are Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employers.

For more information about the proposed research, contact Dr. Kirk Knobelspiesse (