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A Multi-Source and Multi-Scale Approach for Quantifying the Terrestrial Hydrologic Cycle

Speaker: Ming Pan, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Series: EEWR Brown Bag Seminars
Location: Engineering Quad E219
Date/Time: Friday, April 29, 2011, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


The global hydrologic cycle plays a key role in the functioning of the Earth’s environmental system, and it is a central task in modern hydrology to accurately quantify the water/energy states and fluxes in land surface at various scales from local to global as well as their variations in time. Such quantification can help us understand various aspects of the Earth’s terrestrial environment, e.g., the underlying physical mechanisms, scaling behaviors, interactions with atmosphere, response to climate perturbations, etc. They are also critical to many applications like water resources management, flood and drought mitigation, environmental protection, urban/agricultural planning, and ecosystem evaluation and restoration. Ultimately, the knowledge and data obtained here will enable us to build and improve our forecasting capabilities of the Earth’s environmental system for better planning and decision making.

To meet the challenges posed by this task, the research strategy includes three important parts: (1) modeling, (2) observations, and (3) data assimilation. The modeling effort will be based primarily on land surface models (LSM), and weather and climate model predictions and reanalyseswill also be exploited. The observations will come from a variety of sources, and the remote sensing, especially space-borne remote sensing, will be heavily used for its large coverage, frequent sampling, and relatively low cost. Finally, the techniques of data assimilation integrate our estimates from modeling and observational approaches, transfer information across different scales, and provide insights into the uncertainties of the estimates.