COAST Student Internships Summer 2020

​​​NOAA CoastWatch West Coast Regional Mode 

Ocean Satellite Data Internship​

Host: NOAA CoastWatch provides timely access to historical and near real-time environmental satellite data for the world's oceans to governmental, academic, commercial, and public users. Satellite observational data are used to monitor, restore, and manage U.S. coastal ocean resources. The CoastWatch West Coast Regional Node​ (WCRN) ​maintains a data catalog of over 1400 datasets and processes over 500,000 data requests per day. WCRN is hosted by NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center's (SWFSC) Environmental Research Division (ERD), which provides innovative science-based analyses, products, and information on environmental variability to meet the nation’s fisheries research and management needs. The data activities of the CoastWatch WCRN are fully integrated with the data services provided by the ERD.

Location: Santa Cruz (map)

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 14, 2020; start and end dates flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments

Stipend: $6,000

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be prorated.  

Position Description and Responsibilities:  SWFSC ERD and CoastWatch provide data, data services, training, and a web presence to many West Coast and international research and management programs. The ERDDAP data server provides streamlined access to subsets of gridded and tabular scientific oceanographic datasets (e.g., data from satellites and buoys) in common file formats with options to make graphs and maps. Integrative products include West Coast and global ocean condition maps (sea surface temperature, currents, chlorophyll-a, etc.). 

One (1) internship is offered to work with NOAA CoastWatch and ERD staff to update and expand our data holdings and to make satellite data more accessible to potential users. The intern will spend the majority of their time editing html files as well as programming in R or Python and editing HTML code at a workstation located at the NOAA Santa Cruz facility. The duties may include 
  • Generation of value-added satellite products based on sea surface temperature, chlorophyll concentration, sea surface salinity, or sea surface winds.
  • Development of metadata based on community standards.
  • Documentation of code using R or Jupyter notebooks.

The intern will be encouraged to attend weekly science talks given by NOAA fisheries scientists. Additionally, the intern will design and complete a project of interest to them, starting from work flow development and ending with a deliverable that is suited to their skills and experience. At the end of the internship, the intern will be expected to give an informal presentation to the ERD/CoastWatch team summarizing the results of their activities. Results from the intern's activities will be incorporated into the ERD/CoastWatch website and data services with attribution suitable for inclusion in the intern's CV or portfolio. 

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: ​Preferred skills include the following:

  • Basic skills in Python, R, or a similar programing language
  • An educational background in science (preferably oceanography or a related science), OR in computer science or a related discipline
  • Familiarity with html and editing html files
  • Familiarity with basic Unix command line tools and file structures

Skills Gained: The intern will be exposed to current research and monitoring efforts underway at SWFSC and CoastWatch. They will learn about basic satellite metadata standards and naming conventions, such as the Climate and Forecast (CF) conventions, about the structure of netCDF files, and how to read netCDF files and to write data and metadata into netCDF files using the R or Python programming language. They will learn how to edit html files and test for correctness. In addition, the intern will learn about the ERDDAP data service and how to use Python or R programs to extract data from the service.

Eligibility/Requirements: In order to be accepted for the internship, the candidate will be required to complete NOAA IT Security training and to undergo and pass a Federal background check. The process for the background check includes fingerprinting and needs to be initiated at least one month in advance of the intern's start date. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.