Postdoc position at EPFL Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (LTE)

EPFL Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (LTE) seeks a creative and energetic Postdoc.


Date posted

Sep. 30, 2020 12:00 am

Application deadline

Nov. 30, 2020 12:00 am


EPFL Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (LTE)


  • Switzerland

Job description

Postdoc position at EPFL Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (LTE)
Hail characterization from polarimetric radar observations

There is a clear need in Switzerland to increase the knowledge of hail size and hail kinetic energy.
In the country, hail storms occur regularly but are very localized, with devastating consequences for
agriculture and properties. To complement existing knowledge about hail in Switzerland (regions
prone to hail, seasonality/climatology...), there is a need for information (at least qualitative, possibly quantitative) about hail: identication in operational data for accurate localization and warning, size distribution, kinetic energy for instance. This project aims to investigate possible avenues to obtain such information from the operational dual-polarization radar network operated by MeteoSwiss.

Note also that, following the approach implemented for rainfall (and rainfall rate) for which a
large network of telemetered rain gauges complements the remote sensing observations, a new  entirely automatic network of innovative hail sensors is currently being deployed by MeteoSwiss. It will comprise more than 80 instruments in three climatological Swiss hail hot spots.

In close collaboration with the Radar, Satellite and Nowcasting division of MeteoSwiss, we are
starting a new project with the following scientic objectives

  1. Find appropriate statistical models for the particle size distribution of hail. Test and refine
    the models by combining data from the Swiss hail sensor network, the hail reports from the
    MeteoSwiss app users (crowd sourcing) and the dual-pol weather radar network.
  2. Investigate the hail PSD variability in time and space: test the double-moment normalization
    approach for hail PSD and the possible invariance of the normalized PSD in time and space.
  3. Comparison/evaluation of crowd-sourced information with direct hail PSD observations from
    the hail sensor network, to the extent possible.
  4. Develop a new algorithm to retrieve quantitative information about the hail PSD, at the scale
    of the hail cell, from operational polarimetric radar data, based on the normalized hail PSD
    approach. Moments of particular interest are hail characteristic size and kinetic energy.

We are looking for a creative and energetic Postdoc to investigate the above-mentioned scientic
questions, starting as soon as possible. Funding is available for 2 years through a collaboration be-
tween EPFL and MeteoSwiss with a competitive salary (starting at 82 kCHF/year). Review of the
applications will continue until the position is lled.

The Postdoc project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Alexis Berne (EPFL) and Dr. Marco
Gabella (MeteoSwiss, Locarno Monti). The Postdoc will have to work both in Lausanne and Locarno.

Applicants should have a PhD in radar meteorology or a closely related eld. Signicant experience
with radar (data processing, microphysics) is required. Additional background in one (or more!) of
the following areas is desirable: precipitation microstructure, hail physics, Python.

Prociency in spoken/written English is mandatory, knowledge of French, Italian or German would
be an advantage. Applications should include a CV, a statement of research interests and qualica-
tions, as well as contact details of three academic referees in electronic form.
Alexis Berne
Laboratoire de Teledetection Environnementale
B^at. GR, Station 2
CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Marco Gabella
Radar Satellite and Nowcasting
Via ai Monti 146
Locarno-Monti, CH-6605 Svizzera