Scientific activities / projects

Multi-satellite multi-instrument ionosphere probing

Starting date

1 September 2019

Duration of contract

3 years


up to German TVöD 14

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

Ionospheric disturbances can affect technologies in space and on Earth disrupting satellite and airline operations, communications networks, navigation systems. As the world becomes ever more dependent on these technologies, ionospheric disturbances as part of space weather pose an increasing risk to the economic vitality and national security. Having the knowledge of ionospheric state in advance during space weather events is becoming more and more important. Therefore, a team in Neustrelitz is working on monitoring, modelling and forecasting the ionosphere for many years.

With the modernization of GNSS, the use of multi-constellation, multi-frequency observations including new signals enables continuous monitoring of Earth’s ionosphere using worldwide distributed sensor stations. The permanently growing number of GNSS receivers and associated networks essentially supports establishing high precision monitoring of ionospheric weather including perturbation tracking and forecasts usable in space weather services. Other ground based techniques such as vertical sounding (VS), Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR), Very Low Frequency (VLF) or Radio Beacon (RB) measurements provide complementary data thus completing GNSS based data sets.

The availability of numerous medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites deployed by GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou systems and fulfillment of Galileo constellation allows continuous monitoring of the Earth’s ionosphere and neutral atmosphere by tracking GNSS signals from low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. In addition to the GNSS radio occultation measurements onboard navigation measurements can be used to derive the total electron content (TEC) between GNSS satellites and the LEO satellite thus providing an excellent database for subsequent data inversion and assimilation. Other space based measurements include data from dual-frequency altimeter missions such as TOPEX-Poseidon and Jason 1/2/3, data from the geodetic orbit determination and positioning system DORIS onboard altimetry satellites etc. The GNSS reflectometry is a new remote sensing technology that opens new scientific horizons in topography, weather forecast and climate research.

Localized in-situ measurements of electron and thermospheric neutral density (e.g. Langmuir probe aboard CHAMP, SWARM etc.), solar irradiance and wind parameters from space platforms (e.g. ACE/DSCOVR, SDO etc.) complement integral TEC measurements to identify plasma bubbles and become important data base for physics based ionosphere modelling.

Ground and space based data originating from different sources have to be harmonized and integrated properly to obtain accurate and consistent data sets to be used in scientific studies. The different temporal- and spatial-resolution and latency of multi-instrument observations must be adapted to a unified time- and special-scale for near real-time monitoring of the ionosphere for space weather services.

In this context, we are looking for scientists with strong interest on ionospheric research and ambition for a team work. Your mission is the development of improved estimation/inversion techniques, instrumental bias removal, reconstruction techniques, assimilation methods and powerful processing systems for handling big data sets from multi-satellite, multi-instrument space- and ground based systems.

Your work will comprise the following tasks.

  • develop powerful processing systems for handling big data sets of space- and ground-based measurements in near real-time
  • simultaneous data processing from multi-satellite, multi-instrument systems which include GNSS and non-GNSS sensors in space aboard moving platforms (e.g., LEO missions) as well as on earth fixed ground stations
  • development of improved ionosphere estimation/inversion techniques, instrumental bias removal for ground and space borne sensors
  • generate 3D electron density reconstructions of the geo-plasma environment with high temporal and spatial resolution by means of data fusion, reconstruction techniques and assimilation methods
  • develop ionospheric forecast algorithms to be used in space weather services
  • working on new instruments and new signals for retrieving ionospheric information
  • develop concepts and procedures to leverage knowledge for accurate and safety-critical GNSS application and services
  • transfer the developed algorithms into the IMPC ("Ionospheric Monitoring and Prediction Center") and ensure a continuous service
  • publish new findings to the international journal and scientific conferences

Your qualifications:

  • university degree (master's or diploma) in physics, geophysics, mathematics or a comparable scientific discipline
  • excellent PhD in Geophysics, Physics or Mathematics
  • long standing working experience in the empirical modelling of physical processes (gases, liquids)
  • long standing fundamental specialized knowledge and working experience in the 3D data assimilation and tomography methods (ensemble Kalman filter)
  • very good knowledge of relevant programming languages (e.g. Fortran, Python, Matlab, C++) and common operating systems
  • experience in project acquisition and project management and publication of scientific papers
  • excellent German and English knowledge in spoken and written
  • teamwork as well as independent, creative and goal-oriented way of working

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. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Mohammed Mainul Hoque
Institute of Communications and Navigation

Phone: +49 3981 480-125

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Vacancy 38765

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Neustrelitz

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Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics

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