The Center for Water and the Environment (CWE) is hosting a speaker series focusing on mountain hydrology.

Mountain snowpack is a vital resource and is extremely vulnerable to climate change for downstream water users around the world. Due to the lack of data or assumptions that steep topography and lack of storage can restrict its impact, deeper groundwater is often poorly represented in mountain hydrology.

At the CWE Distinguished Speaker Series on Wednesday, March 3, at 12 p.m., participants will get the chance to hear from Rosemary W.H. Carroll, Ph.D., associate research professor at the Desert Research Institute.  

Her presentation will focus on Snowmelt to Streamflow: The Importance of Groundwater in Mountain Hydrology.

The challenge of quantifying snow distribution and snowmelt at the watershed-scale, along with the close coupling of water inputs to vegetation structure and topography, further complicates our conceptual understanding of hydrologic partitioning.

To address these challenges, researchers combine snow observations across spatial and temporal scales with chemical and isotopic observations, groundwater gas tracers, and a multi-decadal integrated hydrologic model of a Colorado River headwater basin.

With this combined observation and modeling framework, the research seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How important is groundwater flow to mountain streams?
  2. What are the first-order controls on groundwater recharge?
  3. How old is baseflow?

Lastly, research will touch on monsoon rains and their effect on streamflow as a function of the antecedent snow season.

Carroll received her undergraduate degree in Physics from Bates College in Maine; and her MS and Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in Hydrology. Her current research focuses on watershed hydrology of mountain systems. While based in Reno, Nev., she lives in Crested Butte, Colo., and will present work on the East River near her home and which is the field site of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Watershed Function Science Focus Area.

The mission of the CWE is to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM professions while conducting cutting-edge research into technological and engineering-based solutions to problems with water and the environment.

To register for this free presentation, please go to:

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