Riley Hales
Researcher, Engineer, Professor
MS Civil Engineering, BYU
Academic Publications: 9
Conferences: 16

Researcher Lab Manager
Hydraulics, Hydrology, Hydroinformatics
Brigham Young University
Civil & Construction Engineering
Since Jan 2022

Hydrologic, Hydraulic, Groundwater Modeling
Geospatial Analysis - ArcGIS, QGIS, Python
Scientific Computing & Programming
Web App Development (React, Django, Flask)
Technical Communication and Presentation
I'm a hydraulics and hydrology researcher which and has been part of the GEOGloWS streamflow modeling project since April 2018. He contributed to the development of the GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow hydrologic model and designed the web services and apps which make that project unique in the hydrology world. He is experienced in numerical water modelling, statistical analysis, machine learning, web technologies, and decision support systems. Through the GEOGloWS project, he has been involved in projects to increase the water management capacity of hydrometeorological agencies in more than a dozen countries. He is currently a doctoral student in Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University with Dr Jim Nelson.

Education & Awards

PhD Civil Engineering
April 2023*
MS Civil Engineering
April 2021
BS Civil Engineering
April 2020

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
Mar 2022
NCES FE (Civil) Exam
Jan 2020
Eagle Scout, BSA

Engineering Skills

  • Technical Communication and Presentation
  • Statistical Analysis and Machine Learning
  • GIS Analysis (ArcGIS, QGIS, Python)
  • Hydrological Modeling
  • 1D & 2D Hydraulic (RAS, SRH-2D)
  • Groundwater Modeling (MODFLOW)
  • Remote Sensing
  • Decision Making Support Systems

Software Expertise

  • Python, JavaScript
  • Cloud Computing and Web Services
  • Web App Development (React, Django, Flask)
  • Aquaveo Modeling Software (WMS, SMS, GMS)
  • Google Earth Engine
  • Hydraulic Toolbox
  • HY-8

Work Experience

Hydrology and Hydraulics Researcher Apr '18 - Present

GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow

  • Built a global hydrologic model providing discharge forecasts for ~1 million reporting points
  • Developed a data web service with documentation and programming packages to make model results accessible in standard formats
  • Created web map service with Esri and state-of-the-art animation and visualization practices
  • Trained hydromet agencies worldwide to use global data services for local level analysis and decision making
  • Managed professional relationships with Esri, ECMWF, Azure, World Bank, NASA, GEO, NOAA, USAID, FEWSNET and others

Calibration and Validation of Large Hydrological Models

  • Developed a new post processor for hydrologic model results to remove bias in discharge
  • Implements machine learning, geospatial processing, statistical analysis in new approach

Spatiotemporal Multidimensional Dataset Tools

  • Published GIS python package and web apps, and engineered scientific data processing workflows
  • Supported development and adherence to community standards and conventions for data formatting
  • Created web application to show multidimensional gridded datasets and earth observations
  • Managed cloud computer resources and architecture, international deployment of products
  • Trained NASA sponsors and leaders of international organizations to create and use multidimensional datasets

All Projects

  • Regional Bias Correction of Large Hydrological Models
  • Flood Inundation Extent and Impact Forecasting/Mapping
  • Scientific Web Tool Development
  • Analysis of Multidimensional Spatiotemporal Datasets
  • Enteric disease spread risk forecasting - Johns Hopkins University
  • Liquefaction Risk Analysis
  • Tethys Platform - Web App Framework

Teaching Experience

  • CEEN 114 Geomatics (Intro GIS, Surveying) (Teaching Assistant) - F17, W18
  • CE 431 - Hydrology W22
  • CE 594R - Engineering Applications of Remote Sensing and Earth Engine W23

Service and Volunteer Work

ASCE BYU Chapter Networking Committee Apr 2018 - Apr 2019

  • Plan and coordinate networking events with engineering companies, students, BYU
  • Volunteer service to local K12 schools and after school programs promoting STEM
  • Spent several hours per week during school to planning and/or host student events

BYU ASCE Concrete Canoe Team Aug 2017 – Apr 2018

  • Engineered and tested concrete specimens used in competition at national ASCE competitions
  • Participated in preparation and construction of the concrete canoe used in races

Missionary - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Jan 2015 - Aug 2016 Milan, Italy

  • Unpaid, Full-time, representative of an international church and its practices in North Italy
  • Responsible for daily interactions with diverse cultures, languages, religions, educations
  • Taught daily spiritual lessons to church members and leaders, and others interested in gospel
  • Taught English and Italian reading and writing skills to refugees, immigrants, and Italians
  • Administered and taught church ordinances in the temple, the church's most sacred building

Academic Publications

1st Author
2nd Author
3rd+ Author
  1. [pending]
    Extending SC-PDSI-PM with Neural Network Regression using GLDAS Data and Permutation Feature Importance
    Saul Ramirez, Riley Hales, Gus Williams, Norm Jones
    Environmental Modeling & Software
  2. [pending]
    Advancing Global Hydrologic Modeling with the GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Service
    Riley Hales, Jim Nelson, Michael Souffront, Angelica Guttierez, Christel Prudhomme, Steve Kopp, Dan Ames, Gus Williams, Norm Jones
    Journal of Flood Risk management
  3. SABER: A Model-Agnostic Postprocessor for Bias Correcting Discharge from Large Hydrologic Models
    Riley C. Hales, Robert B. Sowby, Gustavious P. Williams, E. James Nelson, Daniel P. Ames, Jonah B. Dundas, and Josh Ogden
    MDPI Hydrology, 22 June 2022
    doi: 10.3390/hydrology9070113
  4. Tethys App Store: Simplifying Deployment of Web Applications for the International GEOGloWS Initiative
    Rohit Khattar, Riley Hales, Daniel P. Ames, E. James Nelson, Norm Jones, Gus Williams
    Environmental Modeling & Software, Manuscript ENVSOFT-D-20-00421R2, 8 October 2021
    doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2021.105227
  5. The Grids Python Tool for Querying Spatiotemporal Multidimensional Water Data
    Riley Chad Hales, E. James Nelson, Gustavious P. Williams, Norman L. Jones, Daniel P. Ames, J. Enoch Jones
    MDPI Water, Manuscript water-1247798, 27 July 2021
    doi: 10.3390/w13152066
  6. Hydroviewer: A Web Application to Localize Global Hydrologic Forecasts
    Kyler R. Ashby, Riley Chad Hales, Jim Nelson, Daniel P. Ames, Gustavious P. Williams
    Open Water Journal, Vol. 7 Iss. 1 Article 9, 7 June 2021
    Journal Page
  7. A Streamflow Bias Correction and Performance Evaluation Web Application for GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Services
    Jorge Sanchez Lozano, Giovanni Romero Bustamante, Riley Hales, E James Nelson, Gustavious P Williams, Daniel P Ames, Norman L Jones
    MDPI Hydrology, 25 April 2021
    doi: 10.3390/hydrology8020071
  8. A New Method and Python Toolkit for General Access to Spatiotemporal N-Dimensional Raster Data
    Riley Chad Hales
    BYU Theses and Dissertations, 29 March 2021
    Scholars Archive Page
  9. Enabling Stakeholder Decision-Making with Earth Observation and Modeling Data Across the SERVIR Hubs using Tethys Platform
    Nelson, E. James, Sarva T. Pulla, Mir A. Matin, Kiran Shakya, Norman L. Jones, Daniel P. Ames, Lee Ellenburg, Kel. N. Markert, Cedric H. David, Benjamin F. Zaitchik, Patrick Gatlin, Riley Hales
    Frontiers in Environmental Science: Freshwater Science, 9 October 2019
    doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00148



  1. Presentation
    Accessible and Actionable Hydrology: GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow
    Riley Chad Hales
    GEO Symposium 2022, Wednesday 4 May 2022, Geneva Switzerland
  2. Presentation
    Forecasting of Inundation Extent Fusing Remote Sensing Data and the National Water Model Forecasts
    Kel Markert, Gustavious Williams, E. James Nelson, Hyongki Lee, “Jack” Chi-Hung Chang, and Riley Chad Hales
    AWRA Spring Conference, Monday 25 April 2022, Tuscaloosa Alabama
  3. Presentation
    Accessing Essential Water Data with GEOGloWS Toolbox
    Riley Chad Hales, Rohit Khattar, Daniel P. Ames, E. James Nelson, Norman L. Jones Gustavious P. Williams
    AWRA Spring Conference, Monday 25 April 2022, Tuscaloosa Alabama
  4. Paper & Presentation
    Performance-Based Estimation of Lateral Spread Displacement in the State of California: A Case Study for the Implementation of Performance-Based Design in Geotechnical Practice
    Kevin Franke, Clay Fullmer, Riley Hales, Dallin Smith, Ivy Stout, Sarah McClellen
  5. Poster
    Improving Hydrological Forecasting Capacities in the Amazon Region
    Jim Nelson, Jorge Luis Sanchez Lozano, Giovanni Romero, Riley Hales, Daniel P. Ames
    AGU Fall Meeting, December 2021
  6. Poster
    Enabling Access to Essential Water Data through GEOGloWS Toolbox
    Riley Hales, Jim Nelson, Rohit Khattar, Dan Ames
    AGU Fall Meeting, December 2021
  7. Presentation
    GEOGloWS: Using Global Forecasts to Enable Local Decision-Makers
    Riley Hales
    Global Flood Partnership Conference 2021 (Virtual), 13 October 2021
    Conference Page
  8. Presentation
    GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow
    Riley Hales
    GEO Symposium 2021, 24 June 2021
    Conference Page Presentation Recording
  9. Presentation
    Introduction to GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow
    Riley Hales
    Hydrospace, 10 June 2021
    doi: 10.5270/esa.hydrospace-geoglows-2021-report
  10. Poster
    A Streamflow Bias Correction and Validation Method for GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow Services
    Jorge Luis Sanchez, Jim Nelson, Gustavious P Williams, Riley Hales, Daniel P Ames, Norm Jones
    AGU Fall Meeting, 15 December 2020
    Abstract ID GC103-008
  11. Presentation
    A post-processing method to calibrate large-scale hydrologic models with limited historical observation data leveraging machine learning and spatial analysis
    Riley Hales, Jorge Luis Sanchez, Jim Nelson, Gustavious P Williams, Daniel P Ames, Norm Jones
    AGU Fall Meeting, 11 December 2020
    Abstract ID H121-07 Presentation Video
  12. Poster
    A Web-based Framework for Managing and Sharing Earth-observation Applications for Water Resources
    Rohit Khattar, Riley Hales, Daniel P Ames, Jim Nelson, Norm Jones, Gustavious P Williams
    AGU Fall Meeting, 8 December 2020
  13. Poster
    Global Water Sustainability Tools from Earth Observations for the Americas
    Jim Nelson, Jason Biesinger, Norm Jones, Daniel P Ames, Riley Hales, Gustavious P Williams, Angelica Gutierrez-Magness, Chris Edwards, Kyler Ashby, Rohit Khattar
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, 12 December 2019
    Abstract ID GC41C-07
  14. Poster
    Developing a drought monitoring and sub-seasonal to seasonal forecast system for South Asia
    Yifan Zhou, Benjamin Zaitchik, Mir Abdul Matin, Faisal M Qamer, Ryan Zamora, Sujay V Kumar, Jim Nelson, Kiran Shakya,Riley Hales
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, 10 December 2019
    Abstract ID A23U-3022
  15. Poster
    A Global Earth Observation App as a Data Access Interface
    Riley Hales, Jim Nelson
    CUAHSI Hydroinformatics Conference 2019
  16. Paper & Presentation
    Predicting Streamflow in Cuba for Water Resource Management
    Chris Edwards, Riley Hales, Jacob Lewis
    CISC Cuban Infrastructure Competition 2019