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Hydrologist - Modeler - Climate

First Street Foundation

First Street Foundation

Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Our nonprofit mission

Make climate risk information accessible, easy to use, and actionable for individuals, governments and industry.

The challenge

Today, it is difficult for individuals and businesses to understand how climate change will specifically impact them. We are solving this challenge by creating and publicly distributing climate-adjusted, property-specific risk information in easy-to-use ways. We communicate our climate risk information through RiskFactor.com as well as through strategic partners such as Realtor.com and Redfin.com. We also deliver these data in bulk to government agencies and commercial entities to enable them to do portfolio-scale analysis of climate risk and its impacts. In all cases, we seek to democratize climate risk information and equip our users with the quality information necessary to make decisions about their actions in response to climate change.

The opportunity

We routinely update and improve our flood risk models with the most recent data and methods to make our flood information even more valuable to understand flood and climate risk. We are looking for a mid- to senior-level hydrologist with experience in creating and running flood models, especially their surface water and ground water components. Experience with hydrometeorology, WCRP climate model output, drought and/or coastal modeling is also a plus.

The role

The Hydrologist will work in the Hydrological Sciences group within the First Street Foundation (FSF) Data Team to develop, maintain, and operate the FSF Flood Model. The FSF Flood Model is a nationwide, climate-corrected flood model used to quantify risk at the property level across the United States. This role will be responsible for incorporating new methods, novel sources of data, and technical improvements into the flood model and providing updated flood hazard layers to the rest of the Data Team for the creation of FSF’s property level hazard and loss statistics. This hydrologist will stay up to date with the latest research in water-driven natural disasters (e.g. both flood and drought risks) and creatively find ways to incorporate hydrological sciences into First Street’s climate risk information and data offerings.


  • Operate the FSF Flood Model to create US flood hazard layers.
  • Identify new data sources and methodological improvements for inclusion into the model.
  • Manage model production, quality control and ongoing validation efforts.
  • Introduce innovative methods to improve probabilistic estimates of flood risk and water depths.
  • Manage model and data processing workflows both on the commercial cloud and on local clusters.

Experience / competencies

  • Ph.D., or M.S. with equivalent experience, in a combination of hydrology and climatology
  • Strong foundation in understanding and modeling hydrological processes (e.g., rainfall-runoff).
  • Expertise in various hydraulic and hydrologic modeling platforms, especially the LIS-FLOOD or similar modeling framework.
  • Expertise in fluvial and/or pluvial flooding, and familiarity with coastal flooding.
  • Expertise with big data analysis, large-capacity processing workflows, and cloud computing.
  • Expertise in probability and statistics related to hydrometeorological and/or geospatial processes.
  • Expertise using both compiled and scripted languages (e.g., Matlab, Python, UNIX shell, C++, Fortran, and/or SQL) and GIS software (e.g., QGIS and ArcGIS) to efficiently analyze outputs.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced team environment.

Advantageous: one or more of the following skills and experiences would be a plus

  • Skill/Experience calibrating hydraulic and hydrologic models and quantitatively evaluating their performance.
  • Skill/Experience developing a variety of satellite-based flood inundation maps for validation and calibration.
  • Skill/Experience in groundwater modeling (e.g., MODFLOW).
  • Experience authoring peer-reviewed scientific publications in areas related to hydrology, climate change and/or water-driven natural disaster risk.
  • Experience manipulating and analyzing climate projections from WCRP’s CMIP5 and/or CMIP6 climate models
  • Postdoctoral research or similar experience preferred.

Our Values

  • Passion: We are driven by our shared goal to fight climate change
  • Inclusive: We believe the best decisions consider many points of view
  • Impact: We focus on things that move the needle
  • Urgency: We move quickly because the world depends on it
  • Integrity: We use open science and operate transparently
  • Positivity: We are optimistic and enthusiastic in all that we do

Compensation & Benefits

  • Competitive salary commensurate with experience
  • Tech startup environment
  • Working on the world’s biggest issue with other passionate professionals

First Street Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and technology group.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.