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. Paper led by Tamlin analyzing what rivers SWOT will see accepted for publication in Journal of Hydrology.

  2. 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.

  3. Ph.D. student Mejs Hasan (B.A., M.S. from UNC) joins the lab

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

  5. Tamlin named new U.S. Hydrology Science Lead for NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission.

  6. Paper by Tamlin on monitoring discharge using discontinuous satellite imagery published in Hydrological Processes.

  7. Paper by Pavelsky, Allen, and Miller accepted for publication in AGU monograph on remote sensing of the terrestrial hydrologic cycle.

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