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In This Issue
Vamsi Ganti receives AGU Horton research grant for hydrology
NCED Participates in NSF Hazard Research Showcase
Arvind Singh defends PhD at NCED

 Vamsi Ganti receives AGU Horton research grant for hydrology

Vamsi Ganti  

NCED PhD student Vamsi Ganti has been selected as one of two recipients of the AGU Horton Research Grant for 2011. Horton Research Grants come from the AGU Hydrology Section's Robert E. Horton Fund for Hydrologic Research and are given "in support of research projects in hydrology and water resources by Ph.D. candidates in institutions of higher education." Vamsi is advised by Efi Foufoula-Georgiou and also works with Chris Paola at NCED.


His research includes developing macroscopic flux models that address the probabilistic structure of the hydrologic forcing that shapes landscapes at various scales ranging from streambed to watershed, as well as the implications of hydrologic extremes on sediment transport and landscape evolution. In addition, "the research uses landscape form (preserved stratigraphy and other measures of landscape morphology) to decipher past hydrologic extremes that have shaped the landscape," Vamsi said.


Vamsi was selected by the AGU Hydrology Section for his proposed dissertation topic: "Hydrologic variability and its signature on geomorphic systems." He will be recognized, along with recipient Nicholas Kinar of the University of Saskatchewan, at the Hydrology Section luncheon at the AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011 in San Francisco. We wish Vamsi congratulations on receiving this honor!

 NCED Participates in NSF Hazard Research Showcase

NCED participated in an NSF Hazards Research Showcase on September 6th and 7th in Washington DC. The showcase, in which NSF hosted over 30 different research groups from around the nation, featured interactive demonstrations, research, and technology related to predication, preparation, and mitigation of physical hazards (storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, landslides, etc.). The first day of the showcase occurred at the NSF building in Washington DC for NSF staff and the general public, and the second day entailed taking the showcase to the Senate Hart Building on Capitol Hill for Senate congressmen and women as they start deliberating on how to allocate funds for basic hazards research.NSF Hazard Research Showcase


The NCED exhibit, titled "The Hazards Cascade: The Science of Predicting Landslide and Flooding Hazards" used a 9-foot experimental flume to illustrate how hazards, specifically landslides, generally do not occur as isolated incidents. Landslides, which can be triggered by other hazards such as storms or earthquakes, can initiate additional hazards such as flooding or channel migration when landslide deposits interact with waterways. The flume, which contained a constructed channel form, had two attached 'landslide' boxes that allowed for the immediate addition of sediment into the channel, simulating landslide events. One configuration demonstrated channel response when a landslide deposit fully dammed the river (causing flooding upstream of the dam followed by catastrophic failure of the landslide dam to initiate flooding downstream), while another showed channel response to a landslide deposit when it partially blocked the channel (initiating channel migration). This 'hazard cascade' helps illustrate how hazard impacts can reverberate through an entire watershed, leading to additional loss of land, infrastructure, and lives.


Run by Barbara Burkholder, Stephanie Day, Peter Wilcock, and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, the NCED exhibit was well received at both NSF and at the Senate Hart Building, with several people mentioning the value of being able to 'see' channel processes as they occurred in the flume rather than from a numerical model on a computer screen. Overall, the exhibit reaffirmed the advantage of physical experiments, in that they can provide insight and quantitative results that can be used to help inform numerical modeling and vice versa.


Other exhibits in the research showcase included earthquake simulators, tornado pads, search-and-rescue robots and more. "Fundamental research on natural and man-made disasters is required to tease out paths to prediction, preparation, mitigation and efficient and effective post-disaster response," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "The National Science Foundation's investment provides a continuous pay off in local, state, and national policy toward these efforts."


Arvind Singh defends PhD at NCED

 Arvind Singh

On August 18, 2011, Arvind Singh successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Statistical Mechanics of Sediment Transport." Advised by Professor Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Arvind has focused on "understanding and quantifying the interaction of bed topography, flow turbulence, and sediment transport," particularly using "predictive modeling of coupled hydrologic-sediment transport systems with an emphasis on environmental applications." His most recent project sought to characterize the effect of bed topography on the movement of magnetic tracers in the SAFL Main Channel.


When asked about the significance of his research, Arvind replies that "accurate measurement of sediment transport rates has important implications to engineering design, sustainable environment, and biological activities. Most of the existing models and methods for estimating sediment transport rates are based on empirical formulas which lack accurate predictability. Therefore one has to understand in detail the highly stochastic nature of sediment transport to propose refined models.


Arvind says, "The experience working at the lab is great. You will not find a better place for experiments than SAFL. It's a disney land for researchers. People are nice, friendly. You get things done. There is a pool of like-minded people so it's easy to interact, plus a nice view of the river and the falls." Arvind is currently running experiments on the turbine level of SAFL to understand the effect of extreme events in precipitation on landscape and sediment transport. He will continue as a postdoc at NCED, under the direction of Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, moving forward with his research.

Learn more about Arvind's work at NCED here.



Eolos Wind Turbine Commissioning Ceremony
October 25, 2011
UMore Park
Rosemount, MN

NCED Sip of Science
November 9, 2011
5:30 - 6:30pm
Aster Cafe
Minneapolis, MN

AGU Fall Meeting
December 5-9, 2011
San Francisco, CA  


Recent NCED Publications  
Gangodagamage, C, Belmont P, Foufoula-Georgiou E.  2011.  Revisiting scaling laws in river basins: New considerations across hillslope and fluvial regimes . Water Resources Research. 47(7)

Ebtehaj, M, Foufoula-Georgiou E
.  2011.  Statistics of precipitation reflectivity images and cascade of Gaussian-scale mixtures in the wavelet domain: A formalism for reproducing extremes and coherent multiscale structures. Journal of Geophysical Research. 116(D14)

Limm, MP, Power ME
.  2011.  Effect of the western pearlshell mussel Margaritifera falcata on Pacific lamprey Lampetra tridentata and ecosystem processes.Oikos. 120(7):1076-1082.

Kim, W, Connell SD, Steel E, Smith GA, Paola C
. 2011.  Mass-balance control on the interaction of axial and transverse channel systems. Geology. 39(7):611-614.

Voller, VR, Paola C, Zielinski DP
.  2011.  The Control-Volume Weighted Flux Scheme (CVWFS) for Nonlocal Diffusion and Its Relationship to Fractional Calculus. Numerical Heat Transfer, Part B: Fundamentals. 59(6):421-441.

Ebtehaj, M, Foufoula-Georgiou E
.  2011.  Adaptive Fusion of Multi-sensor Precipitation using Gaussian Scale Mixtures in the Wavelet Domain. Journal of Geophysical Research.
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