Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación
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Full Time
Closes: 30 April 2023
Applications have closed
Postdoctoral researcher on Land-Use/Land-Cover change and remote sensing of vegetation (R2)

Context And Mission

We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented researcher to analyze historical variability in vegetation and land use change, in relation to atmospheric dynamics. The successful candidate will coordinate the creation and assessment of time-varying land surface boundary conditions to be used by ECMWF’s future reanalysis products, with the aim of providing more accurate atmospheric reanalysis and improved initial conditions for seasonal forecasting.

This position will be hosted in the Climate Variability and Change (CVC) Group within BSC’s Earth Science Department. The CVC Group undertakes fundamental research to (1) understand climate variability and change, including for climate extremes, (2) investigate global biogeochemical dynamics, and the effectiveness and impacts of carbon removal technologies to mitigate climate change, (3) develop new Earth System modeling capabilities, and (4) improve our ability to forecast the climate variations from one month to multiple decades into the future, both at global and regional scales.

The offered position will contribute to the newly funded Horizon Europe project CERISE, building on results from the H2020 CONFESS project. CERISE will develop new and innovative coupled land-atmosphere data assimilation approaches and land initialisation techniques to pave the way for the next generations of the C3S (Copernicus Climate Change Service) reanalysis and seasonal prediction systems, and develop diagnostic tools to assess the extent to which these developments improve the physical consistency of model components and enable improved predictions.

The candidate will be responsible for the development and assessment of time-varying, high resolution (1 km) land cover and LAI datasets. The analysis will leverage satellite-based data products and historical land-use data to reconstruct and extend land dynamics back to 1925 using land-use change modelling, spatial analysis and/or machine learning methodologies. An independent verification of the Land Cover product will be done using regional Land Cover classifications based on high-resolution satellite imagery before 1993. The LAI product will be verified with other satellite-based LAI products from 1982-1993.

The candidate will also have the opportunity to participate in other research activities within the CVC group. In particular, contributions are anticipated to the evaluation of the climate modelling experiments conducted by the CVC group using the EC-Earth Earth System Model which simulates the Global Carbon Cycle at timescales ranging from multi-annual to centennial. This will entail analyzing the contributions of vegetation and land-use change to the global carbon cycle in the projections and near-time predictions made by the CVC group.

Key Duties

  • Create and assess the time-varying land cover and LAI datasets
  • Collaborate with colleagues and external partners in the integration of these datasets in the ECMWF pre-operational framework
  • Lead the preparation of scientific publications, and present the research at scientific workshops and conferences
  • Analyze the contributions of vegetation and land-use change to the global carbon cycle in the CVC group’s climate projections and near-time climate predictions
  • The candidate will work closely with scientists within the Climate Variability and Change Group and other groups of the Earth Sciences Department, and with international project partners



  • PhD in spatial modelling, land-use change, geography, or a related discipline

Essential Knowledge and Professional Experience

  • Demonstrated experience in the analysis of geo-spatial and remote sensing data
  • Proven ability to prepare and submit manuscripts to peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Programming skills: scripting (e.g. bash, Python, R), open-source spatial data analysis and visualization software (e.g. GeoPandas, r-spatial, QGis)

Additional Knowledge and Professional Experience

  • Interest and capacity in participating in the writing of research and computing proposals
  • Experience with vegetation model and/or climate model data
  • Knowledge of version control systems (git, svn, …)


  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • Highly collaborative spirit and ability to work independently as part of a large, strongly-coordinated team and to continuously share both knowledge and tools


  • The position will be located at BSC within the Earth Sciences Department
  • We offer a full-time contract, a good working environment, a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure, flexible working hours, extensive training plan, restaurant tickets, private health insurance, support to the relocation procedures
  • Duration: Open-ended contract due to technical and scientific activities linked to the project and budget duration
  • Salary: we offer a competitive salary commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the candidate and according to the cost of living in Barcelona
  • Starting date: Asap