Global hydrology lab

department of geological sciences

university of north carolina, chapel hill

PI:  Tamlin Pavelsky


All around the world, fresh water is an essential component of physical, biological, and human systems.  As such, understanding the storage and transport of fresh water will help us understand how the world works.  In UNC’s Global Hydrology Lab, we study hydrologic processes at scales from the entire globe to a single large wetland.  Our interests are wide-ranging, but we focus on surface water hydrology, satellite remote sensing, hydroclimatology, and climate change.  We have particular interests in the hydrology of Arctic and Subarctic regions and in developing new ways to track surface water hydrology from space.


What is global hydrology?

Let them think twice before they use their powers

To blot out and drink up and sweep away

These flowery waters and these watery flowers

From snow that melted only yesterday.

                ---Robert Frost, “Spring Pools”


  1. North American River Width (NARWidth) Dataset, containing >7M river width and centerline measurements derived from Landsat, available here.

  2. George Allen receives GSA student research grant to study stream width variability at small scales.

  3. Tamlin receives tenure.

  4. Paper by George Allen and Tamlin analyzing patterns in North American river widths and surface area published in GRL.

  5. Paper led by Tamlin analyzing what rivers SWOT will see published in Journal of Hydrology.

  6. Paper lead by former M.S. student Zach Miller on patterns of river width in the Mississippi Basin published in Hydrology and Earth System Science.

  7. Paper by Tamlin, George Allen, and Zach Miller on patterns of river width in the Yukon Basin published in Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle.

  8. Paper led by former UNC undergraduate Melissa Wrzesien (now at Ohio State) evaluating snow cover extent in regional climate model accepted for publication in International Journal of Climatology.

  9. In April 2014, Tamlin received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at the White House.

  10. White paper summarizing results of the 2012 SWOT River Discharge Algorithms Workshop available here.

Last Update: 05/01/2015