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Research Assistant-Arctic Boreal

Woodwell Climate Research Center
Falmouth, Massachusetts (US)
Closing date
Sep 29, 2021

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Atmospheric Sciences
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Job Details

Research Assistant-Arctic Boreal

Seasonal Dynamic Water Body Mapping

Falmouth, Massachusetts/remote


SUMMARY: Woodwell Climate Research Center (Woodwell) is a leading independent climate research institute, with a mission to advance science-based climate policies through scientific research and outreach. The keys to Woodwell’s success are the quality of its research and the ability to deliver that science to policymakers and decision makers.

Woodwell Climate Research Center seeks a research assistant (RA) to join the Arctic Boreal group to lead image processing and data analyses for a new NASA-sponsored project. The position will use high resolution commercial imagery (i.e., from Planet and Maxar) to map the seasonal dynamics of water bodies (including small ponds) and inundated wetlands for tundra and boreal regions in Alaska. The RA will also assist with developing maps of methane emission budgets for aquatic systems and wetlands. The successful candidate will work closely with the project lead scientists at Woodwell and NASA. 


  • Preprocessing of PlanetScope and RapidEye imagery (e.g., geolocation/image co-registration; qa/qc masking; regional mosaicking)
  • Developing a water body training/validation database for Interior Alaska and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) using Maxar WorldView imagery and data from GPS field surveys.
  • Using Planet imagery to develop a multi-year temporal record of surface wetness indices (e.g., NDWI) for Interior Alaska and YKD.
  • Improving and applying a semi-automated approach to identify landscape gradients of surface water across the regions, using a NDWI-based threshold approach.
  • Applying segmentation algorithms to identify and characterize seasonal and multi-year changes in individual water bodies within the region.
  • Providing summary statistics for water dynamics within the region, through pixel and object-based analysis. 
  • Using information from a regional methane flux database, and the new record of surface water change, to develop monthly and annual methane emission maps for Alaska. 
  • Assist with project reporting and manuscript writing for publication

Qualifications and Experience:

  • M.S. degree in Earth System Science, Computer Science, Data Science or a related field.
  • Experience working with remote sensing image analysis and large datasets.
  • Programming skills; ability to develop and implement complex code in Python (or willingness to learn).
  • Signal processing and time series analysis skills (or willingness to learn).
  • Experience with Linux systems, high performance computing in a cluster or cloud environment (or willingness to learn).

Application review will begin August 27, 2021 and applications will be accepted after that date.      

Desired Start Date: September 2021

Classification and Compensation: This is a full-time, salaried, fixed-term, exempt position. The salary range is $50,000 to $58,000. This is a one-year fixed-term position with the potential to extend. Woodwell offers a very generous benefits package.

Location: Remote or Falmouth, Massachusetts. There is a possibility of field work in Alaska.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send your cover letter addressing your experience and qualifications in relation to the responsibilities of this position, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references as a single PDF to our careers portal found here. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please type RA-Water Mapping on all correspondence.

Located on a 10-acre campus near the village of Woods Hole, Woodwell Climate Research Center is a private, non-profit research center. Woodwell  is a leading source of climate science that drives the urgent action needed to solve climate change. Woodwell  has 70+ staff members, and is excited to welcome new employees to this work.

Woodwell Climate Research Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, mental, or physical disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, familial status, veteran status, or genetic information. Woodwell  is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for all individuals in employment practices, services, programs, and activities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Woodwell


Climate change is the greatest challenge of our lifetimes. Woodwell Climate Research Center (Woodwell) understands that the climate crisis—from causes to consequences—is inextricably linked with persistent social injustice. Effectively addressing either requires addressing both. The climate crisis demands that we bring to bear all of the knowledge, expertise, innovation, and creativity that we can collectively muster, and those who have been marginalized and disproportionately impacted must be heard.

The work Woodwell does—the questions we ask, the ways we seek answers, and the strategies we put forward—is stronger when shaped by a diversity of knowledge, perspectives, and experiences. We strive to welcome, respect, and amplify differing voices. We value individuals as they are, with all their differences in race, age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, language, and mental and physical abilities.

Woodwell acknowledges that our organization, and the scientific community more broadly, have a long way to go in living up to these ideals. We approach the work of improving our organization with the same ambition and commitment to systemic change that we bring to addressing climate change.

We will inevitably make mistakes, but we will continue to listen, learn, and do this critical work. We understand that this work requires an ongoing commitment from each and every one of us. We are actively engaged in building and sustaining an equitable and inclusive culture within our organization, and in fostering greater diversity in climate science.


Woodwell Climate Research Center is an organization of renowned researchers who work with a worldwide network of partners to understand and combat climate change. For over 35 years, we have combined hands-on experience and policy impact to identify and support societal-scale solutions that can be put into immediate action.

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