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19-10. Improving coastal change hazards forecasts


Closing Date: January 4, 2021

This Research Opportunity will be filled depending on the availability of funds. All application materials must be submitted through USAJobs by 11:59 pm, US Eastern Standard Time, on the closing date.

How to Apply

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Processes including waves, tides, storm surge, sediment transport, and atmospheric forcing act to continually change sandy, coastal environments. Nearby communities, structures, and infrastructure can be impacted by these processes during extreme storms, placing them at physical and economic risk (view the geonarrative). To address these risks, the USGS, in partnership with NOAA, has developed the Total Water Level and Coastal Change (TWL&CC) Forecast Viewer. The real-time, 6-day forecasts of coastal hazards on sandy beaches includes estimates of extreme water levels and the probability of wave collision with dunes, overwash of dunes, and inundation of beaches. TWL&CC forecasts are undergoing robust validation and improvement using a combination of tools including observations of total water level and coastal change using coastal video monitoring stations paired with offshore measurements and short-term deployments of water level and wave gages during storms. 

The interaction between waves, water levels, and sediment transport is an open research question. State-of-the-art models for coastal change, including the TWL&CC forecast, lack a complete physical representation of how sandy dunes erode. Models perform optimally with site-specific calibration and non-physical tuning parameters to match data. We hypothesize that developing and improving time-dependent estimates of dune erosion magnitude, change to key morphologic features including beach slope, elevation of the dune base, and dune retreat trajectory, as well as improvements in estimates of wave runup will contribute to 6-day forecasts with higher accuracy and precision.   

The objective of this Research Opportunity is to advance fundamental knowledge of sandy coastal dune erosion processes due to the relative influence of storm waves and ocean water levels.  Specifically, the research under this opportunity will allow a postdoctoral fellow to define a research direction utilizing the wealth of coastal change hazards data collected in support of the TWL&CC forecasts, including remotely sensed and in situ observations of total water level, beach morphology, and offshore forcing. Research may include use or development of new modeling approaches. A successful proposal will identify a research hypothesis within the scope of improving understanding of dune erosion process and outline a research plan to address the hypothesis. Research results will ultimately be incorporated into the TWL&CC forecasts.   

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisor(s) early in the application process to discuss project ideas. 

Proposed Duty Station: St. Petersburg, FL 

Areas of PhD: Oceanography, geology, engineering, physical science, geography, or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive relevant knowledge and skills relevant to this Research Opportunity may be considered). 

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research OceanographerResearch GeologistResearch Physical Scientist  

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.) 

Human Resources Office Contact: Joseline Martinez Lopez, 303-236-9559, 

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