Research: Water Cycle Science
Water is fundamental to sustain life on Earth and it is continually cycling through the Earth’s system which includes land, atmosphere, and ocean. Evaporation, precipitation, surface and groundwater flow, are all part of this cycle also known as the hydrological cycle. Water evaporates from the ocean to be transported by the atmosphere and to form clouds, and then precipitates back to land to be carried by surface and ground water flow back to the ocean. This continuous cycling of water through the Earth’s system also involves transport and exchanges of energy and thus water helps regulate Earth’s climate and its variability. Future projections by the United Nations indicate that during the next few decades water supply and water quality will deteriorate due to various factors that include population growth, economic development, and climate change. Climate change effects include more severe droughts and flood events, which will further intensify water scarcity and contamination.
To address these challenges, our water cycle research focuses on topics that include:
- Applied hydrogeology and geomorphology with emphasis on water quality and source water protection.
- Surface hydrology and sediment transport processes with applications to flood control.
- Interdisciplinary studies of climate change impacts on the hydrological cycle from local to global scales, using field-based observations/measurements, remote sensing and modeling approaches.