PhD Position on “Quantifying drought impacts on water resource using large-ensemble simulations and machine learning”

Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Closing date: 15 September 2019

The Department of Physical Geography and Rijkswaterstaat are searching for a PhD candidate with the aim to improve our understanding of future drought impacts on water resources with a focus on the Netherlands. The project will make use of the latest development in climate and hydrological modelling and will be executed in close collaboration with our partners, the Dutch meteorological service (KNMI) and Deltares.

Drought is a major natural hazard, caused by lack of water in precipitation, soil moisture, groundwater or rivers. The 2018 drought in Western Europe showed that the impact of this hydrological extreme can be diverse and severe. The Dutch National Water Authority (Rijkswaterstaat) is responsible for the water management in the major river system of the Netherlands and wants to update their water management tools to improve drought preparedness in the future. The current hydrological models used by Rijkswaterstaat do not allow for rapid analyses needed for adaptive and flexible water management, making it difficult to use these tools for drought impacts assessment over the Netherlands.

You will make use of new developments in climate science, machine learning, big data analysis and hydrological modelling to improve our knowledge related to adaptive water management during extreme drought, now and in the future. The PhD project aims to develop methods to correctly quantify drought impacts (e.g. water shortages, land-subsidence rates and salt-water intrusion), using large-ensemble climate simulations to link meteorological and climate phenomena to hydrological drought impacts at the relevant resolutions and spatial extent. These methods should be efficient and able to use existing information to improve adaptive water management in the near future, to better deal with extreme droughts.

You will work in a multi-disciplinary team with a focus on fundamental research in climate change, hydrology and hydrological extremes. There will be ample opportunity to cooperate with researchers in the team, which include, in addition to Utrecht University, partners from Rijkswaterstaat, KNMI, Deltares and Wageningen University. Principle appointment will be at Utrecht University, but it is expected that you will work in close collaboration with the partners at different institutes.

Requirements

  • an MSc in Earth Sciences, Hydrology, Civil Engineering or a related field;
  • affinity with numerical modelling;
  • willingness to work at the interface of academia and application-driven research;
  • the ability to work in teams;
  • excellent English oral and writing skills; you should be able to demonstrate excellent English language proficiency. A qualification English at C1 level (comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) is required or you should be willing to obtain this level by training.
  • preferably basic Dutch oral skills or a willingness to master the Dutch language.

Are you interested? Then please read the full profile and apply.


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