Scientist, Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3)

Job Details

Job ID: 11149

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.


Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.


OCO-3 was installed on the International Space Station on May of 2019. It will be in operations for 3 years, measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition to global sampling data, OCO-3 will collect a new type of measurement, called Snapshot Area Maps. These dense measurements, where our ~2km by ~2km footprints will sample an area of at least 50km by 50km in 2 minutes, are collected over cities, powerplants and volcanoes, as well as field campaign regions and focus regions for the study of terrestrial carbon.


For information about Earth Science at JPL, please visit


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology invites applications for a temporary full time scientist position. The successful candidate will: 

  • Work with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) science and validation teams to analyze targeted satellite retrievals of carbon dioxide over cities.
  • Compare the OCO-3 observations with output from regional models and evaluate model/data agreement as a function of key retrieval diagnostics
  • Interpret the OCO-3 data in the context of ancillary pollution data such as NO2 retrievals from the TROPOMI satellite instrument
  • Publish scientific findings in top-tiered per-reviewed scientific journals as well as presenting results in relevant science team meetings, workshops and conferences.

Note: As a temporary position, this assignment may last up to 36 months in duration with approvals based on 12 month assignments.  However, please note that you are not under any employment contract and your temporary employment status can be terminated at any time, with or without notice.


We require a PhD in Atmospheric Science, Geophysics or a related technical discipline. The successful candidate will possess advanced knowledge of one or more of the following areas: carbon cycle science, atmospheric composition, air quality. In addition, the successful candidate will have demonstrated experience with analysis and interpretation of large remote sensing datasets, including consideration of quality screening and sensitivity diagnostics and experience in the use of datasets covering a variety of spatial scales. The successful candidate must also have experience in regional atmospheric transport modeling. Applicants should have strong programming skills in one or more languages. Ideally, programming skills will include both Fortran and Python.  The successful candidate will also have excellent oral (including public speaking) and written communication skills, strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated experience of working in a team environment. Preference will be given to candidates that have experience in using one or more of the OCO-2 Level 2 dataset, GOSAT Level 2 dataset and the TROPOMI trace gas products and that have previously worked on inverse modeling to quantify trace gas sources and/or sinks, particularly point source emissions.


Complete applications will include a cover letter, curriculum vita including a bibliography of refereed and other work, a statement on research experience and research objectives, and contact information for at least three professional references.  


Applications received by November 18, 2019 will receive full consideration.

Work Authorization


Connect with Us

Not ready to apply? Connect with us for general consideration.

JPL is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and will, whenever possible, actively recruit and include for employment members of underrepresented minority groups, females, disabled veterans, protected veterans, and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. JPL will hire, transfer, and promote based on the qualifications of the individual to ensure equal consideration and fair treatment of all.

JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor. For more information about "EEO is the Law" click here: eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available at

If you are interested in applying for employment with Jet Propulsion Laboratory and need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, contact our Human Resources department at (818) 354-5150 or via email at

Written requests may be mailed to: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Attention: Staffing and Employment Programs, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1720C, Pasadena, CA 91109