Dr Céline Cattoën-Gilbert

Hydrological Forecasting Scientist


PhD, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ MSc, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ MSc, INSA, Toulouse, France

Science Centre

Contact Details


Dr. Céline Cattoën-Gilbert is a hydrological forecasting scientist at NIWA with a focus on forecasting floods. She's actively researching hydrometeorological ensemble forecasting systems, flood and inundation modelling, forecast communication and end-user decision-making. She’s interested in improving flood forecasts in gauged and ungauged catchments by gaining an understanding of flood processes and cascading uncertainties using ensembles.

She was the principal investigator of a 2017 Natural Hazards Research Platform fund for “Enhanced probabilistic flood forecasting”, and since 2016, the leader of “forecasting floods and hazards”, a NIWA strategic science investment fund. She leads a team of interdisciplinary scientists in developing a national flood awareness system for ungauged catchments in New Zealand and a new flood inundation forecasting system for Westport. She’s also a researcher part of Mā te haumaru ō te wai - an Endeavour programme focussed on understanding Aotearoa's flood inundation hazard and risk at a national level and using this to improve our resilience to flooding. She has also an interest in high-resolution radar information for flood modelling through her involvement in a MBIE Smart Idea “A new approach to weather radar observations for real-time natural hazards warnings”.

For her flood forecasting research she was awarded a NIWA Excellence Awards 2023 – Research (winner) and a Science New Zealand 2021 Team award (The Forecasting Team - NIWA), and in 2017, she received a runner-up NIWA Excellence Awards – Early Career. With an engineering degree in applied mathematics, Ph.D. in mathematics and experience as a High-Performance Computing support consultant (NeSI) before joining NIWA, she has a passion and a drive for interdisciplinary research. She enjoys developing an active role in the international ensemble flow forecasting research community by getting involved in science and session committees at international conferences on flood forecasting. 

Professional affiliations:

2023 - Present   Principal Investigator, Te Pūnaha Matatini (TPM), a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems and networks

2023 - Present   Co-chair of the Hydrology and Precipitation project under the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

2022 - Present   Member of the Standing Committee on Hydrological Service at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)