Postdoctoral position : Distributed hydrological modeling for the Improvement of flood forecasting systems in Maghreb

This job offer has expired

    Institute of Research for Development (IRD)
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    30/09/2019 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Montpellier

1. Context

Maghreb countries do not have flood forecasting systems that can link weather forecasts to hydrological forecasts, in order to be able to issue flood warnings. Moreover, these countries are subject to deadly floods that can cause a lot of damages, such as the Algiers episode in 2001 (1000 fatalities), and the 1995 event of the Ourika basin in Morocco with over than 200 fatalities (Bennani et al., 2019). In recent years, these countries are seeking solutions to reduce their vulnerability to these episodes.

At the European level, EFAS (European Flood Awareness System, www.efas.eu) has been operational since 2012 and is providing complementary flood forecasts and warnings for European basins to the relevant authorities. The system is based on a distributed hydrological model, LISFLOOD (Van der Knijff etal., 2010) operating at a horizontal resolution of 5 km calibrated for more than 1000 basins in Europe. The LISFLOOD model is forced by the weather forecasts of ECMWF(European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts), DWD (German Weather Service) as well as COSMO-LEPS (Consortium for Smal Scale Modelling) , which makes it possible to have flood risk simulations up to a maximum of 10 days. At present, the model is already implemented in Northern Africa but is not calibrated (Thiemig et al., 2015) which strongly limits the usefulness of the model to use it in forecast mode.

2. Postdoc objectives

The main goal is to implement the LISFLOOD model (https://ec-jrc.github.io/lisflood/) on a set of representative basins in Maghreb countries where long time series of rainfall and discharge are available. In particular, there is the need to evaluate if the model is able to reproduce the main hydrological processes leading to floods in this region, in a context of higher aridity than in European basins and with many intermittent rivers. The scientific goal associated with this work is the regionalization of the model parameters, from the gauged sites to ungauged sites, in order to be able to apply the model to all Maghreb basins. The methods of regionalization in hydrology are designed to transfer the parameters of hydrological models to ungauged basins based on the physiographic characteristics of these basins, which is a crucial issue in developing countries where measurement networks are poorly developed. (The Barbé and Servat, 1992).

This work will be based on observed data, particularly in Tunisia, where an interpolated daily rainfall database was created based on the data of 960 stations between 1979 and 2015 (Tramblay et al., 2019). In addition, the recent global databases from remote sensing will make it possible to characterize basins in terms of land use or rainfall. Once the LISFLOOD model is calibrated and validated on a set of representative basins, it will be run using as inputs the ECMWF weather forecasts to quantify the efficiency of the system to simulate flood events.

3. Collaborations

JRC: Joint Research Center, Italy

ECMWF: European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

DGRE : Direction Générale des Ressources en Eau, Tunisia

4. Work environment

Laboratoire HydroSciences Montpellier (300 avenue du Pr Emile Jeanbrau, 34090 Montpellier)

Short terms missions will be scheduled to visit the different partners of the project, in Italy at the JRC, in the UK at the ECMWF and at the DGRE in Tunisia.





The position is for one year and renewable a second year

<2 years of experience, 2150€ (gross)

>2 years of experience, 2500€ (gross)

Offer Requirements

    Geosciences: PhD or equivalent


PhD in Hydrology, Meteorology, Climate science or related fields

Experience with large-scale hydrological modelling or land surface modelling

Ability to work with large databases (GIS, hydro-meteorological databases, satellite products)

Good organizational and communication skills, demonstrated success in producing peer-reviewed scientific publications

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
IRD / HydroSciences Montpellier
300 av du Pr Emile Jeanbrau

EURAXESS offer ID: 430247


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