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Research Position to Simulate Riverine Temperature and Nitrate Concentration

College Park, Maryland
Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Oct 26, 2021

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Ocean Science
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Job Details

The Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies (CISESS) is seeking a research scientist to participate in an exciting new research project to simulate riverine temperature and nitrate (NO3) concentration at the regional scale based on NOAA’s National Water Model (NWM) framework. The goal of this pilot project is to develop a framework and methodology that can be expanded to simulate these water quality variables at the NWM continental scale.

The quality of water is often as important as the amount of water.  Poor quality can endanger life, property, economies and ecosystems. In particular, human activities have significantly increased nitrogen creation by over a factor of 10 compared to the late-19th century. Excess nitrate can cause oxygen depletion, algal blooms, and fish and shellfish reduction.

The successful candidate will work as part of an interdisciplinary team of experts that includes scientists from the NOAA’s Center for Satellite Applications & Research, Fisheries Service, and National Water Center (NWC), and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s Engineer Research and Development Center.  The position will be based at ESSIC/CISESS in College Park, Maryland.

Primary tasks of this project are to:

  • Identify and adopt or develop appropriate water quality model(s) and algorithm(s) with capabilities of running over the scale of the NWM in consultation with the NWC;
  • Implement coupling of nitrate database and the Land surface component of the NWM;
  • Validate nitrate leaching from the Land Surface model;
  • Implement offline coupling of NWM v2.0 with riverine water quality module(s), and;
  • Calibrate and validate simulated riverine temperature and nitrate

The position is for 12 months with the possibility of extension based on performance.

Qualifications: Masters or doctoral degree in hydrology/water resource systems, earth science, physics, mathematics, engineering, or closely related disciplines. Experience and expertise in hydrological modeling of water quality variables, Geographic Information System (GIS), Linux, programming, and High-Performance Computing (HPC) are preferred.  Knowledge of the NWM is a plus. Candidates are expected to be motivated, self-directed, have strong communication skills in both oral and written English, and work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team.


The goal of ESSIC is to enhance our understanding of how the atmosphere, ocean, land, and biosphere components of the Earth interact as a coupled system and the influence of human activities on this system. This is accomplished via studies of the interaction between the physical climate system (e.g., El Nino) and biogeochemical cycles (e.g., greenhouse gases, changes in land use and cover).
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