Research

RECENT AND ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS

ANALYZING GLOBAL VARIATIONS IN RIVER FORM

Goal: Develop and analyze global datasets of river form, including river width, sinuosity, number of channels, and basin area.

Locations: Global

Toolkit: Satellite Imagery, RivWidth, Digital Elevation Models

UNC Personnel: Tamlin, Xiao, Ted

Key Collaborators: Mike Durand (OSU), George Allen (JPL), Ed Beighley (Northeastern), Colin Gleason (UMass), Kostas Andreads (JPL), Christine Lion

Funding: NASA New Investigator Program (2012-2015), NASA Terrestrial Hydrology Program (2012-2015), NASA SWOT Science Team (2016-2019)

Representative Paper: Allen, G.H. and T.M. Pavelsky (2015), Patterns of river width and surface area revealed by the satellite-derived North American River Width (NARWidth) dataset, Geophysical Research Letters, 42(2), 395-402.

THE SURFACE WATER AND OCEAN TOPOGRAPHY (SWOT) SATELLITE MISSION

Goal: Develop a satellite to track river discharge and water storage from space

Locations: Alaska, Global

Toolkit: Satellite Imagery, AirSWOT, Hydrodynamic Models, Field Data

UNC Personnel: Tamlin, Shuai, Xiao, Ted, Wayana, Elizabeth

Key Collaborators: Mike Durand (Ohio State), Larry Smith (UCLA), Delwyn Moller (RSS, Inc), Ernesto Rodriguez (JPL), Kostas Andreadis (JPL), and many others.

Funding: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (2014-2019), NASA Terrestrial Hydrology Program (2012-2017), NASA Physical Oceanography Program (2012)

Representative Paper: Altenau, E. H., T. M. Pavelsky, D. Moller, C. Lion, L. H. Pitcher, G. H. Allen, P. D. Bates, S. Calmant, M. Durand, and L. C. Smith (2017), AirSWOT measurements of river water surface elevation and slope: Tanana River, AK, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 181–189.

SIMULATING THE HYDROLOGIC CYCLE IN CLIMATE MODELS

Goal: Evaluate the hydrologic cycle in climate models and use them to understand patterns in regional hydroclimate

Locations: Sierra Nevadas, California and The American Southeast

Toolkit: Regional Climate Models, In Situ Validation Data, Bayesian Statistics

UNC Personnel: Tamlin, Natan

Key Collaborators: Stefan Sobolowski (Bjerknes Centre), Sarah Kapnick (Princeton/GFDL), Michael Durand (Ohio State), Melissa Wrzesien (Ohio State), Greg Characklis (UNC)

Funding: NSF Integrated Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS, 2016-2019)

Representative Paper: Wrzesien, M.L., M.T. Durand, T.M. Pavelsky, I.M. Howat, S.A. Margulis, and L.S. Huning (2017), Comparison of Methods to Estimate Snow Water Equivalent at the Mountain Range Scale: A Case Study of the California Sierra Nevada, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 18, 1101-1119.

TRACKING WATER AND SEDIMENT IN RIVERS, LAKES, AND WETLANDS

Goal: Understand how water and sediment move through river networks, lakes, and large wetlands

Locations: Peace-Athabasca Delta, Canada; Continental U.S.; Alaska

Toolkit: Field-based hydrology measurements, In Situ Reflectance Spectra, Satellite Imagery.

UNC Personnel: Tamlin, Simon, Matt

Key Collaborators: Marc Simard (JPL)

Funding: UNC Junior Faculty Development Award (2011), NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (2016-2019)

Representative Paper: Long, C.M. and T.M. Pavelsky (2013). Remote sensing of suspended sediment concentration and hydrologic connectivity in a complex wetland environment, Remote Sensing of Environment, 129, 197-209.

UNDERSTANDING HYDROLOGY AND CLIMATE IN THE ARCTIC

Goal: Understand how the hydrologic cycle and climate interact in Arctic environments.

Locations: Canada, Russia, Alaska, and the Arctic Ocean

Toolkit: Long-term data sets, Satellite Imagery, GCMs

UNC Personnel: Tamlin, Shuai, Wayana, Xiao, Elizabeth

Key Collaborators: Larry Smith (UCLA), Dennis Lettenmaier (UCLA), David Butman (UW), Jay Zarnetske (Michigan State)

Funding: NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE, 2016-2019)

Representative Paper:Pavelsky, T. M., and J. P. Zarnetske (2017), Rapid decline in river icings detected in Arctic Alaska: Implications for a changing hydrologic cycle and river ecosystems, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 3228-3235.