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21-8. Advancing representation of groundwater surface water interaction in regional and national hydrologic models


Closing Date: November 1, 2022

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.

Please communicate with individual Research Advisor(s) on the right to discuss project ideas and answer specific questions about the Research Opportunity.

How to Apply


To face growing demand on the Nation’s water resources, the USGS Water Mission Area (WMA) must continue to develop the capacity to accurately predict water availability through integrated models of the complete hydrologic cycle. Integrated models allow for more comprehensive study of the interrelated factors controlling water availability, allow for relating water quantity with water quality and ecosystem health, and will enable the creation of actionable intelligence for USGS stakeholders. The WMA will provide the foundational architecture to support the development of a federated, integrated water modeling resource. This architecture framework will also enable other Mission Areas, federal agencies, and partners to more seamlessly access, utilize, and integrate WMA science, models, and code bases into their activities.  

A critical gap in national scale hydrologic modeling efforts is the inability to integrate the surface water stream network with subsurface hydrogeology and groundwater transport. There have been a variety of approaches applied to the problem, many of which involve coupling existing models that encompass land surface hydrologic processes (such as PRMS or Noah-MP) with models that can resolve groundwater transport and flow paths (like MODFLOW or Parflow). The ability to couple models, therefore, becomes a significant facet of this problem and the Integrated Water Prediction program seeks to develop modern and modular enterprise architecture that is interoperable, extensible, portable, and scalable from personal computers to high-performance and high throughput computing and the cloud.

Key questions driving the research include:

  • How does representation of groundwater processes in land surface models impact the resulting water budget estimations and streamflow predictions?
  • What is the impact of various modeling coupling strategies on the ability to resolve interactions between groundwater and surface water?

Proposed research will demonstrate progress towards these and other critical questions regarding groundwater and surface water interactions in land surface models. We seek a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Scholar to investigate improvement of hydrologic models through coupling of groundwater and surface water capabilities through a variety of different modeling approaches in selected basins or at a national scale.

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

Proposed Duty Station(s): Remote duty station in the United States

Areas of PhD: Hydrology, atmospheric Sciences, geology, Earth sciences or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications:  Research Hydrologist, Research Physical Scientist, or Research Computer 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:  Emanuel Williams, 303-236-0569,

Apply Here