Available in-person--Harshbarger 110--and via Zoom webinar. Contact the department to subscribe to the email list (zoom link provided in announcement).
Both floods and droughts are projected to intensify in the coming decades due to climate change. These increasingly polarized climatic extremes require unprecedented efforts to advance our understanding on terrestrial water dynamics and develop new research tools. This talk introduces several research efforts that advance the understanding of hydrometeorological and hydroclimatic processes under climate change as well as bring research into practice. First, Landsat imagery was utilized to examine river dynamics at a 30-meter resolution anywhere globally during the past four decades. Based on long-term remote sensing observations, we investigate the ‘levee effect’ - the role of levee construction in mitigating flood hazards while creating a false sense of security and lowering people’s awareness of the residual flood risk. Besides remote sensing, hydro-modeling enables us to study hydrologic drought with respect to the drying of non-perennial, headwater streams. On the opposite end of the hydrologic spectrum, flash floods are investigated in two projects 1) estimating the frequency and duration of flash floods over CONUS and 2) predicting change in flash floods under a warming climate. Overall, the presented research jointly utilizes physically based numerical models, remote sensing observations, and statistical/artificial intelligence (AI) tools, demonstrating new promises to meet the challenges from climate change.
Dr. Shang Gao is a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Before joining the University of Arizona, Shang worked at the University of Oklahoma (OU) as a postdoctoral research associate. He obtained his Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Dr. Gao studies the geography of inland waters, focusing on the two ends of the hydrologic spectrum, i.e., floods and droughts. He combinedly utilizes hydrologic models, remote sensing observations, and data-driven methods to understand the surface water dynamics. He has been actively working with federal agencies, municipal water utilities, and native indigenous communities to address water-related issues.