[ES_JOBS_NET] Funded PhD in “Hydrologic predictions in Mediterranean and semi-arid climates”, San Diego State, CA

Hilary McMillan hmcmillan at sdsu.edu
Mon Oct 17 12:41:31 MDT 2016

Hi all,

Applications are invited to study for a PhD in “Hydrologic predictions in
Mediterranean and semi-arid climates”, to start Fall 2017 in the Department
of Geography, San Diego State University, USA. Details of the research are
described below. The PhD will be supervised by Dr. Hilary McMillan,
Associate Professor of Water Resources, who specializes in the use of
hydrologic data for model design, forecasting and hydrologic process
understanding (https://geography.sdsu.edu/people/hmcmillan).

The PhD is offered by the Department of Geography, San Diego State
University, and is a Joint Doctoral Program with the University of
California at Santa Barbara. Students will spend one year of the program in
residence at UCSB. More details on the program are available here:
https://geography.sdsu.edu/programs/doctoral. Financial support is provided
through a Teaching Associate package, providing salary and full benefits,
which requires the student to undertake specified teaching and research
duties during semesters; more information is available here:
https://geography.sdsu.edu/programs/doctoral/financial-support. We are a
diverse faculty/student body at SDSU, and the University has excellent
support for LGBTQ+/hispanic/veteran/first generation students/students with
disabilities and other minorities.

All applicants must apply through the Departmental and University
application process (https://geography.sdsu.edu/programs/doctoral/apply),
however applicants are asked to first fill in the short application
questionnaire here: https://goo.gl/forms/94ck6rjk1O3jcCuY2 by November 15,
2016. Shortlisted applicants will then be advised to follow the application
process as above.

Thanks very much!

*Research abstract: Hydrologic predictions in Mediterranean and semi-arid
Hydrologic prediction models and tools often fail to make accurate
predictions of river flows and other hydrologic variables in Mediterranean
and semi-arid climates. Despite the severe need for accurate hydrologic
information in water-scarce areas, comparison studies show that predictive
performance decreases along the climatic gradient from wet catchments to
dry catchments. Possible causes of poor performance in dry catchments
include hydrologic model design; difficulty in representing and tracking
water stores; lack of accurate data on soil/groundwater storage, rainfall
and climate; and difficulty in streamflow measurements in ephemeral
channels. This PhD will investigate the reasons for poor performance, and
design innovative models and methods to improve hydrologic predictions in
Mediterranean and semi-arid climates. Solutions may include redesign of
typical hydrologic models (suited for wetter climates) by replacing
traditional metrics of catchment wetness (e.g. volumetric soil moisture,
water table level) with metrics more suited to dry catchments such as
descriptions of surface conditions (permeability, microtopography,
hydrophobicity), soil structure and channel blocking by vegetation. The PhD
will use data from multiple catchments and model applications around the
globe, and will offer the opportunity of fieldwork in Southern California
to investigate controls on infiltration rates and flow pathways in a
semi-arid region.

Dr. Hilary McMillan
Associate Professor of Water Resources
San Diego State University
Phone: +1 619 594 2401
Email: hmcmillan at sdsu.edu
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