PhD position

Development of Algorithms for Global Soil Moisture Estimation using Multi-Parametric Synthetic Aperture Radar Systems

Starting date


Duration of contract

3 years (+ 1 year extension)

Type of employment


Your mission:

Today we have mainly two global mission acquiring soil moisture values over land surfaces with a spatial resolution within 50-30 km and with a high temporal repetability.
These passive radiometer missions are important to provide some insight on the global evolution in soil moisture and are used as an input for climate models. However, the low spatial resolution do not allow to distinguish the local spatial patterns needed for local and regional insights. A further limitation is represented by the presence of vegetation which deeply influences the measurements.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sytems, active radar sensors, can deliver products with a high spatial resolution (e.g 10-50 m) and, due to the multi-parametric acquisition, they allow separating the ground and the vegetation volume signal contribution. The isolation of the effective ground contribution is important for the inversion of the multi-parametric measurements for soil moisuture estimation.

The objective of the proposed thesis is to develop innovative algorithms for soil moisture estimation from multi-parametric longer wavelengths SAR data for the derivation of high resolution products. For this, airborne data are available or can be renewed with new campaigns mimicking spaceborne sensors. The ultimative goal would be to implement the algorithms and the processes on spaceborne systems, as for example on the planned Tandem-L mission.

Please send your complete application (cover letter including preferred starting date, curriculum vitae, current enrollment, current transcript of records from your University).

Your qualifications:

  • Master Degree in Electrical or Telecommunication Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics
  • experience with scientific programming languages, such as Matlab, IDL or Python
  • good knowledge of English (speaking and writing)

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. We are striving to increase the proportion of female employees and therefore particularly welcome applications from women. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential treatment.

Technical contact

Dr. Irena Hajnsek
Institute Microwaves and Radar

Phone: +49 8153 28-2363

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Vacancy 13561

HR department Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR site Oberpfaffenhofen

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DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute

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