Research Projects

Our research focuses on integrating satellite, ground-based and airborne geophysical datasets to observe and model hydrologic (primarily groundwater) systems at both local watershed and global scales.  We are particularly interested in studying hydrologic systems in water-stressed areas. Most of the world's most rapidly depleting aquifers are in major agricultural areas, which has broad implications for food security. The intersection of water resources, land use and climate change in these regions presents many un-explored scientific questions.  

Land subsidence can serve as a proxy for groundwater use and, in some cases, groundwater contamination. We primarily use a satellite-based method known as interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) to study land subsidence and its implications on groundwater quantity and quality. We also use ground-based and airborne geophysical methods to study groundwater systems.

3D visualization of subsurface lithology collected using our lab's geophysical instrument, tTEM. Red colors indicate sands/gravels, blue colors indicate clays.  Click here for interactive plot.

Much of our research involves the synthesis of satellite and ground-based or airborne geophysical data to study groundwater systems. In this figure, we combine satellite-derived subsidence maps with an airborne EM survey to quantify the effect of groundwater depletion on land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley.

Graduate student Lindi Oyler presenting her research at AGU Fall Meeting, 2019

Jiawei Li, Katherine Grote and Rune Lauknes driving a towed Time-Domain EM (tTEM) device across a farm field

from Smith and Majumdar, WRR, 2020