Santa Clara University

Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Environmental Studies and Sciences News & Events

  •  Sierra streamflow likely to diminish under projected climatic changes

    Thursday, Apr. 26, 2012

    ESS postdoctoral researcher Darren Ficklin, in collaboration with professors Stewart-Frey (ESS) and Maurer (Civil Engineering), has assessed the impact of expected 21st century climatic changes on mountain streams in the Sierra Nevada.

    Sierra Nevada snowmelt and runoff is a key source of water for many of California’s 38 million residents. The researchers used output from 16 global climate models (GCMs) and two emission scenarios (which give an estimate of future concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere based on economic development and population growth) to drive a hydrologic model at the sub-watershed scale and analyze all hydrologic components relevant for streamflow, which had not been undertaken before. The results showed that by the end of the century, annual streamflow is likely to decrease and snowmelt is likely to come earlier by several weeks. In addition, the timing and amounts of evapotranspiration, surface water flow and soil water flow will likely be affected. Most notably, Spring and Summer streamflow will likely decrease by 25 to more than 75% (median estimate). Flow decreases of this magnitude would have substantial impacts on both the human water supply and aquatic ecosystems.

    A paper detailing the results of this study has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Water Resources association (Ficklin DL, Stewart IT, Maurer EP, 2012. Projections of 21st century Sierra Nevada local hydrologic flow components using an ensemble of General Circulation Models, JAWRA, in press). It is part of a study investigating changes in streamflow and streamwater quality in mountain basins throughout the west that has been funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

    Projections of 21st century Sierra Nevada local hydrologic flow components using an ensemble of General Circulation Models, JAWRA, in press.
  •  Dr. Lisa Kealhofer promoted to Full Professor

    Thursday, Apr. 5, 2012

     

    Dr. Lisa Kealhofer, of the Departments of ESS and Anthropology, has been promoted to the rank of Full Professor.

    Dr. Kealhofer is an internationally recognized expert in the archaeology of southeast Asia and Turkey. Her scholarship demonstrates the power of interdisciplinarity to shed new light on long-standing questions. By combining methods ranging from chemical analysis of pottery shards to identification of phytoliths (tiny remains of plants sifted out of soils) to landscape analysis, Dr. Kealhofer is exploring how environment affects the development of civilizations and conversely how developing civilizations affect the environment. She has consistently published high impact papers in the best anthropological and archaeological journals, and her work is setting a new bar for archaeological studies. Archaeologists traditionally limit their work to a single site – archaeology is painstakingly slow work and to develop a detailed understanding of even one site can require many years. However, Dr. Kealhofer’s work is demonstrating that examining patterns across multiple sites within a region can shed new light on long-standing anthropological questions, particularly regarding the flow of materials, ideas, and practices between sites.