Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program
The overarching objective of the research and education activities of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering (HSE) program is to produce hydrologic engineers and scientists that can develop answers to the following critical questions:
- How can limited fresh water be distributed equitably in a socially acceptable and sustainable framework?
- What are the relative ecological and societal benefits and drawbacks of management actions?
- How can science provide answers for optimal water management decisions?
The HSE program trains graduate students (both MS and PhD candidates) to conduct basic and applied research at the interfaces between hydrologic, atmospheric, ecologic, and management disciplines; and to do so in interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students, and while incorporating environmental and socio-economic feedbacks, climate variability and scientific uncertainty into scientific and policy analysis.
The HSE program addresses the complex hydrologic, ecologic, and socio-economic challenges facing society in an integrated, interdisciplinary framework and in the context of uncertainty, and socio-economic and hydro-climatic variability.
The faculty and graduate students of the HSE program achieve the above objectives by focusing their basic and applied research activities on engineering and research questions at the interfaces between:
- Hydrologic, atmospheric, and ecologic systems
- Hydrologic, ecologic, and socio-economic systems
- Hydrologic, atmospheric, and socio-economic systems
Hydrologic, atmospheric, and ecologic systems
In this research focus, faculty and students of the HSE program address the two-way interactions between atmospheric and land-surface processes by coupling atmospheric, ecologic, and hydrologic processes. Doing so is critical to understanding climate variability and change, vegetation function, and watershed hydrology. Examples of research topics include:
- Soil moisture, geomorphology, and vegetation
- Global change, regional and watershed hydrology, and interactive ecosystems
- Feedbacks among climate, hydrology, and ecosystems
- Evaluation of spatial and temporal variability of precipitation, soil moisture, and ecosystem function
- Land surface-atmospheric feedbacks on the complex dynamics of precipitation and soil moisture at seasonal and longer time scales
- Land surface, vegetation, atmosphere feedbacks on the regional scale
Hydrologic, Ecologic, and Socio-Economic Systems
In this research focus, faculty and students of the HSE program address changes in water, nutrients and sediment transports due to variability and change in climate/weather, land cover/land use, and water resources management; and develop models to ‘optimize’ ecosystem resilience and human economic activity that bear on the hydrologic cycle at regional scales. Examples of research topics include:
- Non-native species invasion and extinction of native species
- Processes governing grasslands to shrub-land conversions
- Balancing economic and ecosystem needs for water in heavily-modified river basins.
Hydrologic, Atmospheric, and Socio-Economic Systems
In this research focus, faculty and students of the HSE program perform regional, integrated assessments of vulnerability and sustainability of hydrologic and water resource systems, ecologic and socio-economic systems to environmental variability and climate change. Examples of research topics include:
- Hydrologic-ecologic-socioeconomic vulnerability and sustainability analysis to drought and climate variability
- Impacts of human activities on coupled hydrologic systems
- Regional hydrologic vulnerability and hydrologic extremes
- Coupling among stakeholder sectors and ecological outcomes in a regulated river system: droughts
- Influence of large-scale atmospheric and oceanic interactions and oscillations