Hydrologic Science and Engineering

Hydrologic Science and Engineering
Correlation between July-October (JASO) flows
of the Blue Nile River and sea surface temp (SST)

Program Coordinator:

Jorge A. Ramírez
(970) 491-7621

Hydrology is an Earth science focusing on the movement, storage, and properties of water in the environment as well as the interaction of water with environmental systems and human activities. At the center of this field of study is a set of physical processes such as precipitation, evaporation, transpiration, infiltration, and streamflow that transfer water in the environment and affect water quality. Hydrology involves the application of mathematical descriptions of these processes as well as statistical methods to account for the spatial variability and temporal dynamics in hydrologic systems. Many tasks in civil and environmental engineering such as water supply planning, storm sewer design, irrigation system design, water rights administration, stream restoration, environmental protection, floodplain planning and management, and drought mitigation involve some type of hydrologic analysis, modeling, and decision making. Hydrology is also closely related to numerous policy issues such as the potential effects of climate change, aridity, deforestation, and cloud seeding.

The Hydrologic Science and Engineering (HSE) program provides a balanced program of study in the science of hydrology and its application to both engineering and interdisciplinary problems. The program helps students develop a thorough understanding of hydrologic processes as well as their variability and interrelationships. Students gain an in-depth understanding of numerical modeling (both physically-based and stochastic), statistical methods, and geographical information systems (GIS). The program also helps students gain a broad understanding of the field of water resources engineering and related disciplines.

Graduate research and projects in the HSE program typically consider topics such as:

  • Drought characterization and prediction
  • Ecological implications of hydrologic processes
  • Energy balance of the land surface
  • Evaporation from water bodies and soils
  • Flood prediction and flood forecasting
  • Geographical Information System (GIS) application
  • Hydrologic effects of climate change
  • Hydrologic impacts of large-scale atmospheric and oceanic interactions (i.e. ENSO & PDO)
  • Hydroclimatology and hydrometeorology
  • Human impacts on hydrologic processes
  • Infrastructure responses to hydrologic processes
  • Land-ocean-atmosphere interactions
  • Numerical modeling of hydrologic systems
  • Rainfall-runoff modeling of watersheds and river basins
  • Reconstruction of precipitation and streamflow based on tree ring indices
  • Risk and uncertainty analysis of water resources systems
  • River network properties and dynamics
  • River basin morphology and evolution
  • Runoff and storm flows
  • Spatial variability: analysis and simulation
  • Scale effects and scaling invariance
  • Soil moisture patterns and dynamics
  • Stochastic analysis, modeling, and simulation of hydrological processes
  • Temporal dynamics: analysis and simulation
  • Transpiration from vegetation
  • Water supply planning
  • Water quality and hydrologic processes
  • Watershed erosion and sedimentation