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Land Surface Hydrology and Water Resources Management Laboratory

Alan F. Hamlet


The Land Surface Hydrology and Water Resources Management Laboratory in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame is directed by Dr. Alan F. Hamlet (Asst. Professor, CEEES), and focuses on the complex relationships between climate, land surface hydrology, and water resources management in both the built and natural environment.

Some important aspects of our work include:

  • Integrated climate, land surface hydrology, and water resources modeling at a range of spatial and temporal scales relevant to natural resources management problems 
  • Assessment of the impacts of climate variability and climate change on land surface hydrology, natural ecosystems, and human water resources systems 
  • Production of gridded meteorological driving data sets 
  • Statistical downscaling of global- and regional-scale climate model simulations 
  • Modeling of hydrologic impacts on water quality and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems due to land management alternatives 
  • Water resources planning and management 
  • Assessment of hydrologic extremes (floods and droughts) in response to climate change and impacts on the built and natural environment 
  • Development of sustainable water resources management and climate change adaptation strategies 
  • Development of long-lead climate and streamflow forecasts and related water resources applications 
  • Paleoreconstruction of hydroclimatic data


Groundwater Recharge Monitoring at ND-LEEF (Zachary Hanson)
With funding from the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, Zachary is currently implementing and maintaining a high density well-field located at the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) at St. Patrick’s Park. This field-site is located about 4 miles north of Notre Dame’s campus and currently has 13 groundwater wells located within a 50-meter by 50-meter grid. In addition, soil moisture probes are being installed within the well-field in order to capture how the infiltrating water from precipitation moves from the surface, through the unsaturated soil layer (vadose zone) and ultimately into the aquifer below. In capturing recharge events and closing the water budget of the site, the group is hoping to determine whether or not current land surface hydrology models, which are also a component of global climate models, are correctly capturing the interaction between the surface water and groundwater.

Groundwater Modeling for a Hydrology-Informed Model of Lake Carbon Cycling (Zachary Hanson)
In collaboration with Dr. Stuart Jones of Notre Dame’s Department of Biological Sciences and one of his graduate students, Jake Zwart, Zachary is working on building a representative groundwater model of the region and lakes of interest. Dr. Jones’ lab has been collecting data on many lakes at The University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Center (UNDERC), which encompasses approximately 7500 acres on both sides of the state line between Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The goal of the research is to generate a spatially explicit, hydrology-driven, lake carbon model. The groundwater model will help to supply the research with fluxes of flow into or out of the lakes in order to quantify the carbon cycling.

Macro-Scale Hydrologic Modeling Over the Midwest and Great Lakes Region (Chun-Mei Chiu)
This project, funded by the Environmental Change Initiative and currently in its first year, will construct a regional-scale hydrologic model over the Midwest and Great Lakes region, using the macro-scale Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. Long-term meteorological data sets from 1915-2012 will facilitate the analysis of the effects of long-term climate variability and change on the Midwest. Climate change scenarios using both statistical and dynamical downscaling approaches will be used to analyze the diverse effects of climate change on the region to support long-term planning.

Assessment of Waterfowl Habitat restoration as Adaptive Mechanism for Water Sustainability in the Grand Kankakee River Watershed (Chun-Mei Chiu)
In collaboration with the USGS and the Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and leveraging the regional scale hydrologic modeling efforts described above, this project explores the complex surface water/ groundwater interactions that ultimately inform the sustainability of wetland environments (and the ecosystems they support) in the Kankakee Watershed in Indiana and Illinois. The effects of historic land use and vegetation change, drainage infrastructure, water use, and climate on wetlands and waterfowl habitat will be explored using both surface water and groundwater modeling tools.