PhD Research Fellow in Climate Related Statistical Hydrological Modelling University of Bergen, Geophysical Institute Norway

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.


PhD Research Fellow in climate related statistical hydrological modelling


There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway within climate related statistical hydrological modelling. The position is for a fixed-term period of 4 years and is and is funded by the University of Bergen through the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.


About the project/work tasks:


Traditionally simulation of historical and future changes in streamflow is often done by hydrological models that require high-resolution quality meteorological input as well as streamflow observations for calibration of model parameters. Current estimates of flood recurrence intervals are often based on statistical extreme value techniques with instrumental time series of streamflow as input. In Norway, repeated what has been calculated to be 200-year floods have occurred over the last decades. This hints to the need for longer time series in order to calculate more realistic recurrence intervals in a changing climate. The use of information based on reconstructions of paleo floods and long climate simulations may therefore prove very beneficial for such calculations. With relatively new machine learning techniques that perform advanced statistical classification and prediction, and the emergence of temporal high resolution (daily) climate model output over several centuries it is possible to rethink the traditional approaches to hydrological modelling and flood estimation within climate.


The PhD project aim to develop and apply a hydrological modeling tool which link century scale atmospheric reanalysis, century to millennia atmospheric climate modelling data and paleo flood archives in order to estimate regional flood probability changes back in time as well as into the future for different flood types in order to better quantify and understand changes in flood frequency in a changing climate. For such a tool to be usable on historical, paleo and future climate simulations, it needs to be forced with parameters that are regularly stored by groups doing these types of simulations and be able to incorporate multi-decadal to seasonal and short-term signals. As a result of these constraints, we envision the development of a data-driven system using computational statistics/machine learning techniques providing links between regional flood occurrences of different types of floods and large scale atmospheric information from reanalysis, long model simulations and paleo flood records. The system will be trained on instrumental streamflow records.


The PhD will be a part of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR) and the newly started Climate Hazards and Extremes (CHEX) project. BCCR is the largest climate research centre in the Nordic countries and among the leading centres in Europe. The working environment is highly international with around 200 scientists from 37 countries. As a PhD, you will also be part of the national research school on Changing Climates in the Coupled Earth System (CHESS), which offers a wide variety of PhD courses.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a master or an equivalent degree in computational statistics, machine learning, hydrology, atmospheric sciences or earth science. Master students can apply provided they complete their final master exam before 01.07.2018. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.
  • We seek candidates with knowledge in spatio-temporal statistical methods relevant for climate science and downscaling.
  • Prior knowledge of computational statistics/machine learning techniques is preferable.
  • Experience with evaluating the performance of observations or simulations within hydrology, weather or climate using statistical analysis, or experience with frequency analyses of time series is an advantage.
  • Practical experience with programming (Fortran, C++, matlab, python, R or similar) is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and structured, and good collaborative skills.
  • Proficiency in English, both written and oral.
  • Applicants must be willing to learn Norwegian.
  • Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


About the PhD position


The duration of the PhD position is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with research, teaching and dissemination of results. Parts of the duty work will be connected to the project Real Data (“Ekte data” in Norwegian) aimed at providing high school teachers with real data exercises within earth sciences (land, ocean and atmosphere). As the data portal is in Norwegian (, a keen interest in learning Norwegian will be beneficial. The employment period may be reduced if you have previously been employed in a PhD position.


About the research training

As a PhD Candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.


We can offer:

  • an international, good and professionally challenging working environment within the Geophysical Institute and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
  • salary at pay grade 50 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 8) in the state salary scale, currently NOK 436 900 gross p.a. Further promotions are made according to qualifications and length of service in the position.
  • enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • a position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • good welfare benefits


Your application must include:

  • a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • the names and contact information for two references. One of these should be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis
  • CV
  • transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees. If lacking a master’s diploma, an official confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted
  • relevant certificates/references
  • list of scientific publication and other relevant outreach and communication activity


The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge (


General information

For further details about the position, please contact: Prof. Asgeir Sorteberg, Geophysical Institute, Univ. of Bergen ( or Prof. Jostein Bakke, Department of Earth Science, Univ. of Bergen (


The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. It is also a goal to recruit people with immigrant backgrounds. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.


The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.


Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.


Further information about the employment process can be found here.

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