Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.
---Robert Frost, “Spring Pools”

What is global hydrology?

Fresh water in rivers, lakes, wetlands, and mountain snowpacks is a tremendous resource for natural and human systems and, at the same time, represents one of the greatest hazards. Understanding the storage and transport of fresh water through these natural reservoirs and flow paths will help us better address societal challenges in a changing environment. In UNC’s Global Hydrology Lab, we study hydrologic processes at scales from the entire globe to a single large wetland. Our interests are wide-ranging, but we focus on surface water hydrology, satellite remote sensing, hydroclimatology, and climate change. We have particular interests in the hydrology of Arctic and Subarctic regions and in developing new ways to track surface water hydrology from space.”


  • Paper with Tamlin and Elizabeth Altenau as coauthors focused on using ArcticDEM to measure water surface elevations profiles in rivers published in GRL
  • PhD student Elizabeth Altenau successfully defended her dissertation. Congratulations Dr. Altenau!
  • If you live in Eastern North Carolina, join our NASA-funded citizen science project focused on measuring variations in lake water storage. More information here!
  • Paper by former UNC GHL undergraduate Melissa Wrzesien (and Tamlin) published in GRL, showing that climatological snowpack is much greater in North America's mountains than previous estimates suggest.
  • Paper by UNC GHL alum George Allen, Tamlin, and others published in Nature Communications. Major result is that small stream networks have very similar distributions of width across a wide range of discharges and physiographic characteristics.
  • Global Hydrology Lab research on Arctic lake and permafrost hydrology featured in AGU's EOS magazine .
  • Research from Tamlin and Michigan State collaborator Jay Zarnetske, a GRL cover story on declining river icings in Arctic Alaska, featured in Nature Climate Change, Scientific American, PBS NewsHour, Vox, and elsewhere.
  • Tamlin, Simon, Ted, and colleagues from many other universities conducted several weeks of fieldwork in Canada and Alaska in summer 2017. Check out the photos page for some field pictures..

Photos from the Field