Environmental hydrodynamics Lab

Understanding surface water interactions and the future of freshwater

Research overview: lakes, rivers, & coasts

Our group studies how Earth’s largest lakes, rivers, and coasts respond to weather and climate conditions. Our research focuses on the interactions between the hydrosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere, wherein we use numerical modeling to study surface water interaction, extreme storms (meteotsunamis), coastal flooding, lake-effect precipitation, and the impacts on the ecosystem.

Hydrodynamic modeling

We use computer models to understand the physical (and sometimes ecological) conditions of water bodies. We use cutting-edge oceanographic, hydrologic, ice, and wave models to explore the response of these waters to weather and climate forcing as well as the impacts that hydrodynamics has on water quality, the ecosystem, and the atmosphere.

The past and future of freshwater

Long-term records of surface water conditions can tell us how trends in water temperatures, ice, and other conditions have changed and what this means for the future of these systems. Much of Earth’s surface water is not instrumented for long-term measurements, but where we do have observations reveals just how critical these records are for tracking changes in freshwater.

Extreme conditions

Extreme storms and conditions threaten coastal communities and the public, and they are often difficult to predict. Our work focuses on providing real-time and predictive tools that can protect life and property. Examples include storms called meteotsunamis (meteorological tsunamis), which are propagating long waves generated by atmospheric conditions. These waves can cause coastal flooding, rip currents and loss of life, and pose other dangers to society.