Hydrology and the Atmospheric Environment

A graduate student works on a mobile air-quality lab in Hawaii

Above: A graduate student advised by Mark Zondlo adjusts the settings on a mobile air quality monitoring unit, atop a zero-emissions car on the big island of Hawaii following the eruption of the Kilauea volcano.


A water molecule can travel long distances in its hydrologic cycle, from the top of the stratosphere to the depths of the oceans. Understanding how hydrologic and atmospheric processes interact to shape our environment remains a core challenge for environmental engineers.

Faculty in this department build sensors, apply satellite data, and develop sophisticated numerical simulations of earth systems. We then apply these techniques to understand everything from water transmissivity underground to atmospheric turbulence in wind farms and cities. At the center of our work is the vision that pushing the boundaries of fundamental scientific understanding is a precursor for rapidly improving our engineered systems, mitigating their impact on the natural environment, and making them more resilient to natural extremes. With this vision, we work to understand evaporation and transpiration at the land surface, the precursors of drought, flood and storm surge, the modulation of geophysical turbulence by surface temperature and roughness, the movement of air pollutants in cities and across continents, and the role of ecosystems in the hydrologic cycle.


Elie Bou-Zeid

Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Turbulence, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Urban Climatology & Hydrology, Wind Energy

Ian Bourg

Water at Interfaces, Clay Minerals, Nanogeochemistry, Groundwater Hydrology

Michael Celia

Groundwater Hydrology, Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide, Modeling Multiphase Flow in Porous Media

Jürgen Hackl

Complex Infrastructure Systems, Network Analysis, Graph Learning, Risk & Resilience Analysis, Computational Modeling, Digital Twin

Ning Lin

Hurricane Hazards, Risk Analysis, Coastal Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation

Jyotirmoy Mandal

Optical metamaterials; heat mitigation and sensing, radiative transfer across nanoscales, built environments, and the atmosphere

Denise Mauzerall

Energy/air quality/water/climate nexus; Impacts of energy choices; Atmospheric chemistry modeling

Reed Maxwell

Hydrology, Understanding perturbations to the hydrologic cycle through observations and numerical models, Reactive transport, Scaling in watersheds, Coupled simulation and high-performance computing

Amilcare Porporato

Ecohydrology, Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics

Gabriele Villarini

Research Interests

Professor Villarini's research interests focus broadly on flood hydrology, extreme events, hydroclimatology, and climate predictions and projections. He has received a number of national and international awards, including the Hydrological Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist Award by…

Mark Zondlo

Atmospheric Chemistry and Composition Group