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 research interests lie in developing and establishing the use of fully-integrated physically based surface/subsurface hydrological models as a reliable tool for simulating and predicting changes in the physical, chemical and thermal regimes at the local and regional scales due to anthropogenic activities. Specifically, my research is aimed at better understanding the processes controlling hydrologic flow and transport at, and between, 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.

Land use changes can be the potential source of a wide variety of environmental problems. Conversion of native environments to urban, agricultural or industrial uses may be necessary to sustain the population and current ways of life. My research interests extend into mitigating the negative effects of these land use changes and resource developments to best balance natural and human needs. This includes using fully-integrated hydrological models to: evaluate best management practices for agriculture and urban development with respect to hydrology; aid resource development, such as mining, metallurgy and forestry, to minimize impacts on ecosystem health; provide guidance in restoring rivers, streams and hydrological networks already impacted by these anthropogenic activities.

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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