Post Doc Research Associate: Modeling and Analysis of Multi-Scale Land Surface Hydrology

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Richland, WA, USA 🇺🇸

Job Description

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or ~3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.


PNNL’s Earth System Science Division enables energy independence and national security through leadership in earth systems science, engineering, and decision analytics. Our work focuses on solving complex problems in the dynamic Earth system. Our interdisciplinary scientists steward a breadth of efforts that encompass research on plants to groundwater science and coastal zones, to storm prediction. 

Our research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational risks at the interface of human and natural environments. This includes predicting the impacts of natural hazards and extreme climate events on Earth and human systems, along with the impacts of wildfire, flooding, sea level rise and storm surges. We focus on understanding and mitigating environmental contamination and increasing the resiliency, security and sustainability of water resources. We provide geointelligence through advanced sensing and data analytics to forecast complex system behaviors and operational performance to understand human-natural systems. This includes informed decision making and enhanced community resilience, advanced monitoring, and remote sensing of environmental systems for energy and national security. It also includes developing energy systems, including geothermal energy, sustainable oil and gas production, storage and utilization, along with carbon sequestration. 

Driven by a “science-to-solutions” philosophy, we provide scientific leadership and technology to enhance national security, mitigate natural hazards and optimize disaster response. In the critical areas of energy, environment, intelligence, and defense, we deliver insights and decision support through the development of tools and solutions. 


PNNL is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral scholar research position with experience in using and analyzing simulations from physics-based hydrological models (e.g., VIC, CLM, E3SM, WRF-HYDRO, DHSVM) to explore the impacts of natural and/or human processes on water availability at multiple spatial and temporal scales. The successful candidate will work with a multi-disciplinary team investigating the interactions of climate, land, water, and energy systems at national and regional scales. We invite candidates with strong analytical skill in the context of hydrological science, preferably with experience in physics-based hydrological modeling, including physical process representation (e.g., snow, evapotranspiration, groundwater dynamics), human systems modeling (e.g., water management, land use change), and impacts of climate change and extreme events (drought, flood) on hydrology, water availability, and other water-dependent sectors (e.g., energy, food).

The successful candidate should demonstrate highly developed critical thinking and computer programming skills, which will be required to solve challenging technical and conceptual research problems associated with the growing multisectoral dynamics research field. The candidate will be expected to work independently to generate cutting-edge research ideas, lead impactful research publications, and present work at major science conferences. Demonstrated ability and willingness to learn new concepts and techniques across disciplines is advantageous.

When applying please include the following in a single document: Cover letter describing your research experience and interests, and Curriculum vitae with list of publications in refereed journals.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Strong analytical skills in analyzing and visualizing simulation data, such as climate/hydrological time series, and extreme events (flood/drought)
• Experience in physics-based hydrological or land surface models at the continental and/or watershed scales, e.g.,
CLM, VIC, E3SM, WRF-HYDRO, SWAT, DHSVM, or equivalent
• Strong programming skills using Python, Matlab, R, or equivalent
• Experience with geospatial data formats such as netCDF, and geospatial analysis (ArcGIS, NCO)
• Fluency in Fortran, Python and shell scripting
• Familiarity with high-performance computing environments
• Track record of scientific achievement in hydrology research
• Strong communication skills

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not Applicable

Additional Information

15% Travel

Testing Designated Position

This is not a Testing Designated Position.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at [email protected].

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

Mandatory Requirements

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation.  Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination, or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.