Research Themes

Desert Hydrology

Our group has long-term experiments across a range of watersheds where we combine field instrumentation, sampling, remote sensing, and physically-based hydrologic modeling. We advance knowledge in arid and semiarid hydrology for land and water managers. To do so, we study hydrologic patterns, atmospheric, ecologic and geomorphic interactions, and link these to sustainable water resources. Recent publications include Schreiner-McGraw et al. (2020), Vivoni et al. (2021) and Vivoni et al. (2022). This work has been funded by the NSF LTER Program, US Army Research Office, and USDA Agricultural Research Service, among others.

  • Water, energy, and carbon dioxide exchanges across different ecosystems (Dr. Eli Perez-Ruiz)
  • Hydrologic connectivity from hillslopes to closed basin floors with ephemeral playas (Charles Kimsal)
  • Soil moisture variations across landscape units from field and remote sensing products (Ruby Hurtado)

Urban Hydrology

Our group conducts short-term measurements, manipulative experiments and remote sensing analyses in urban systems to study ecohydrological processes under different management scenarios. We focus on the use of hydrologic models to propose water conservation. We are advancing how urban vegetation systems are managed through science-based outcomes. Results from these efforts are important for managing water resources, urban heat and carbon emissions. Recent publications include Perez-Ruiz et al. (2020), Vivoni et al. (2020), and Kindler et al. (2022). This work has been funded by City of Phoenix and Central Arizona Project, among others.

  • Water conservation, heat mitigation, and carbon fluxes in urban parks (Prof. Enrique Vivoni)
  • Irrigation water use changes in urban and agricultural settings under population growth (Zhaocheng Wang)
  • Urban flux measurements in Southwest Urban Corridor Integrated Field Laboratory (Postdoc, TBD)

Hydrologic Impact Assessments

Our group uses hydrologic models forced with future projections of regional climate change and land cover transformations to conduct hydrologic impact assessments. Models are thoroughly tested with remote sensing and field data. These efforts inform short and long-term water resources planning and decision making by water utilities and infrastructure agencies. We are advancing knowledge on how hydrologic systems at regional and watershed scales respond to warming, forest disturbances and treatments, and urban growth. Recent publications include Bohn et al. (2018), Xiao et al. (2022), and Wang and Vivoni (2022). This work has been funded by the NASA Earth Science Applications, Central Arizona Project, and Salt River Project, among others.

  • Long-range climate and land use change in the Colorado River Basin (Kristen Whitney)
  • Estimating the hydrologic impacts of forest thinning in the Salt and Verde Rivers (Jose Becerra)
  • Seasonal to interannual forecasting of Colorado River flows (Haowen Yue)

CubeSat Hydrology

Our group conducts hydrologic investigations using constellations of small satellites (or CubeSats) along with other remote sensing platforms. These new observation platforms provide near-daily, high-resolution (3 to 4 m) imagery in four or more bands. Our work is based on Planet Labs imagery and has focused on detecting vegetation and water changes in urban parks, agricultural areas, rangelands, and rivers in arid and semiarid regions. Recent publications include Vivoni et al. (2020), Kindler et al. (2022), Wang and Vivoni (2022), and Wang and Vivoni (2022). This work has been funded by NASA Commercial SmallSat program, ASU-Planet Labs Incubator, and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, among others.

  • Mapping streamflow presence and flash flood responses using CubeSats (Zhaocheng Wang)
  • Irrigation and farm level changes in response to drought using CubeSats (Zhaocheng Wang)
  • Ephemeral playa inundation dynamics using CubeSats (Charles Kimsal)