Research Interests

My research interests are to improve our understanding the impacts of anthropogenic activities on both surface and subsurface hydrology. The impacts of climate and land use changes on the hydrological system and overall ecosystem health, including surface and subsurface hydrology, are the subjects of exciting ongoing and new research. My primary research objective is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of models used for simulating and predicting changes in water resource availability in the surface and subsurface.

Understanding and predicting changes in water resources due to changes in the climate is essential for ensuring a reliable, consistent and sustainable source of water for both natural and human needs. Managing water resources to meet the diverse and often conflicting needs of natural and anthropogenic environments requires understanding all inputs, outputs and potential changes to the hydrological cycle. My research interests include using modeling tools to better understand and predict these inputs, outputs and potential changes in the quantity and quality of water resources resulting from a changing climate.

My research interests extend beyond modeling; a model can only predict as well as the underlying equations allow, and each simulation is only as good as the input data used to create it. Models have advanced significantly in recent years with the advances in computational ability; however, the data we are using to characterize and evaluate results has, for the most part, remained the same. Along these lines, my research interests include evaluating what data most significantly improves a model, best allowing it to meet the objectives for which it was developed.

The hydrological regime does not function separately from the rest of the natural environment; it maintains equilibrium with the atmospheric, biologic, ecologic, geologic and geochemical systems, amongst others. I believe that a holistic approach to environmental research is required to better understand the interactions, reactions and processes that occur within and amongst all of these systems. It is because of this that I emphasize multidisciplinary research and collaboration in all of the projects I undertake. I encourage anyone interested in more information regarding my research to contact me.

Block diagram showing water cycle.

Figure after Jyrkama & Sykes (2006)

Photo of Andrea Brookfield, waterfall in background.

Andrea Brookfield, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist

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