PhD Position in the research field of Satellite Altimetry

This job offer has expired

    Tallinn University of Technology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/06/2019 23:00 - Europe/Athens
    Estonia › Tallinn

We offer 4-year PhD position at Tallinn University of Technology, Research Group of Geodesy and Road Engineering. 
Proposed doctoral thesis topic: Development of improved Satellite Altimetry Retracker specifically for the Baltic Sea.
Supervisors: Professor Artu Ellmann and Dr. Nicole Delpeche-Ellmann

Modern satellite altimetry (SA) missions (Sentinel-3, Cryosat-2, Jason-2,3 etc.) have the potential for determining accurate sea surface heights (SSH). It is known however that SA data products over coastal areas contain certain limitations, e.g. due to under-examined wet tropospheric correction, land and calm water interference, heterogeneous atmospheric forcings, etc. This project focuses on improving the range estimation by applying specialized developed retracking schemes. Retracking is necessary for the methodology employed in processing the range. Retracking can be study area dependant. For instance, reflected radar pulses are usually recorded against time in waveforms. Over the open ocean, waveforms normally conform well to the Brown model by the least squares estimation. Fitting to this waveform usually yields the required measurements of range (from which SSH is deduced). It has been found that about 5-10 km off the coastline a significant portion of the radar waveforms depart from the Brown model (increasing toward the coast). The factors that influence this anomaly includes land contamination, 'bright targets' in the footprint (patches of very calm water in sheltered areas) etc. At coast it is influenced by archipelagos, areas of calm waters and many other processes (e.g upwelling jets, filaments etc.) that may influence the range that is calculated. Thus the necessity for a retracking methodology designed for the coastal area is required in order to obtain accurate SA-SSH estimates.


  • The PhD candidate shall develop an improved Satellite Altimetry (SA) retracker designed specifically for the Baltic Sea area. This development requires examining the SSH from various satellite altimetry (SA) missions (Sentinel-3, Cryosat-2, Jason-2,3 etc.) using the raw measurements along with different retracking methods.
  • Detailed examination of the altimeter radar echoes and corrections applied shall be performed.
  • Validation of SA derived SSH with in-situ data (tide gauges, airborne laser scanner, GNSS) is expected using statistical techniques of the various data sets.
  • From these results a specific algorithm shall be designed to fit radar signals from different satellite missions and under different sea state (e.g. waves, upwellings, fronts etc.).
  • The candidate is expected to assist in project related field campaigns.
  • This study is part of the Estonian Research Council supported research for developing an iterative approach for near-coast marine geoid modelling by using re-tracked satellite altimetry, in-situ and modelled data.


  • The PhD candidate is expected to be at full-time position for a duration of 4 years
  • The position is financed from the state scholarship and from the projects
  • Additional funds will be provided (and whence applicable the associated funding can be applied for) for research trainings, conferences and international mobility/stays abroad with durations of up to 6 months
  • One of the most compact university campuses in Europe that is situated next to the technology and many high-tech companies and start-ups

Additional comments

For inquiries regarding the position and more information consult the project website http://gece.ttu.ee/~geoid/ and e-mail addresses therein.

Offer Requirements

    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    Geosciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Mathematics: Master Degree or equivalent
    Physics: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good


The applicants should fulfill the following requirements:

  • University degree (M.Sc.) in geodesy or geomatics. Consideration will be given to applicants whose previous degrees are in appropriate related disciplines, such as Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics or Software Engineering.
  • Skills in signal processing (to be trained), data analysis, mathematical and statistics (to be trained).
  • Ability for independent research as part of a team, interest in the presentation and publication of scientific results.
  • Advanced computer literacy and programming skills.
  • Good command of the English language (speaking and writing).

Specific Requirements

Application requirements
The following application documents are required (in English):

  • Motivation letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of the required diploma (MA) or other document providing evidence of the necessary qualification.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Tallinn University of Technology
Ehitajate tee 5

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EURAXESS offer ID: 400540


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