Ocean Career: Ocean Associates Inc. Storm Surge Modeler

Ocean Associates Inc. (OAI) seeks full-time oceanographic modelers to support National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS), Office of Coast Survey (OCS). OCS is the nation’s nautical chart maker.

If you are looking to be an instrumental part of a growing, employee and customer-focused company working on exciting issues in environmental science and other marine/coastal resources, we want to hear from you!

OCS is mandated by Congress to collect, manage, and compile data and information necessary to maintain the national suite of more than 1,000 nautical charts. In addition, OCS conducts hydrographic surveys that measure water depth and produces coastal maps and vector shoreline series and historic maps and charts. These products support commercial shipping, the fishing industry, United States Navy and Coast Guard operations, state and local governments, geographic information system (GIS) users, and recreational boaters throughout the United States.

The OCS’s Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL) manages the development and improvement of charting, hydrographic, and oceanographic systems used by OCS, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, and other NOS offices/programs. CSDL reviews and interacts with research and development programs in private industry, universities, and government, both nationally and internationally. Based on its awareness of state-of-the-art technical developments, CSDL recommends and develops future methods and systems to enhance NOAA and the quality and usefulness of its products. The NOS Storm Surge Modeling team within CSDL develops modeling techniques and infrastructures for end users to perform disaster risk assessments and prediction capabilities to reduce and mitigate coastal vulnerability. These oceanographic modeler positions will provide overall support to this team and assist in the design and development of an operational coupled hydrodynamic and wave modeling system.

Baseline Responsibilities:

In support of OCS, the contractor will work as part of a small team on the design and development to accelerate NOAA’s storm surge model capabilities by developing an operational coupled hydrodynamic and wave modeling system. This will require previous experience working with one of OCS’s operational hydrodynamic models (ADCIRC, FVCOM, ROMS, and/or SCHISM) or other regional hydrodynamic models. Additional experience working with coupling using NOAA Environmental Modeling System (NEMS), a common modeling framework for coupling and sharing information between NOAA’s models, is highly preferred.

  • Prepare and develop variable-resolution numerical meshes;
  • Develop, implement, and update operational hydrodynamic models using a high-resolution model grid;
  • Build a National Unified Operational Prediction Capability (NUOPC) cap for exchanging wind forcings with the coupled system;
  • Demonstrate prototype results for a new modeling system;
  • Incorporate data assimilation methods;
  • Support transition into operations of the model to NOAA’s operational high-performance computing (HPC) system; and
  • Documentation, reporting, participating in meetings, and presenting results.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Upgrade the OCS global surge model from 2D (water averaged) to a 3D model (layered) in NOAA HPC operational systems focusing on all US ocean basins;
  • Support the interface (coupling) of the surge model to wind and to hydrological model (i.e., National Water Model) to support extreme weather events (i.e., hurricanes and nor’easters);
  • Contractors will provide Advanced Coastal Modeling Development and Support for the above focusing on all US ocean basins; and
  • Implement and validate Great Lake models (freshwater models). Support the interface (coupling) of the lake models to sea ice model (e.g., CICE) and to hydrological model (e.g., National Water Model) to support prediction of compound flooding.

Required Skills /Education/ Certifications & Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, Marine Science, GIS, Remote Sensing, or a related field, and a minimum of 4 years of directly related experience; or a MS/MA plus a minimum of 8 years of directly related experience;
  • Expertise and knowledge in working with one of OCS’s operational hydrodynamic models (ADCIRC, FVCOM, ROMS, and or SCHISM);
  • Demonstrated advanced scientific computing skills, including HPC/Cloud environments, Python, Fortran, Matlab, Bash/Shell;
  • Ability to contribute to and develop new software for pre-processing, initiation, and post-processing of numerical models on remote computing platforms;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to convey complex scientific information;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Strong attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated ability to self-manage workload and meet variable (but often short) deadlines for multiple concurrent tasks; and
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, particularly the ability to work independently as well as with others.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Expertise and knowledge of model coupling using NOAA Environmental Modeling System (NEMS), a common modeling framework for coupling and sharing information between NOAA’s models
  • Expertise and knowledge in the field of hydrographic surveying and ocean mapping, including, but not limited to, acquisition of hydrographic survey data using sonar equipment and hydrographic software, analyzing/processing raw data, and creating intermediate charting products

Salary: This is a full-time position. Wage range is $37.66 to $58.68 per hour. Overtime is not anticipated. Comprehensive benefits package.

Location: NOAA Facilities in Silver Spring, Maryland (NOAA Headquarters); Seattle, Washington; or Norfolk, Virginia. If necessary or found feasible by the government, contract staff may also be located at other NOAA facilities. Remote work may be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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