People

Principal Investigator: Dr. Yadu Pokhrel (Associate Professor)

Dr. Pokhrel received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and M.Eng and PhD, also in Civil Engineering, from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Upon receiving his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Hokkaido University, Japan. He then worked at Rutgers University first as a research associate and then as a research Assistant Professor before joining Michigan State University in 2014. Dr. Pokhrel has published his work in a number of leading scientific journals in the field including Nature Geoscience. He serves as a reviewer for more than 20 journals in the field and has reviewed over 60 papers in the past several years. He has also served in review panels or has reviewed proposals for various funding agencies including NSF and NASA. He currently serves as one of the university representatives from MSU for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI). He participates in various international community-driven modeling efforts including the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). Dr. Pokhrel is the recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Faculty (CAREER) Award (see MSU News). He also received the 2018-2019 Withrow Distinguished Scholar Award from the College of Engineering at MSU (see MSU News). He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Hydrology, Water Resource Research, and Scientific Reports (Nature). He has also served as a guest editor for special issues in journals Water, Atmosphere, and Remote Sensing.

Google Scholar Profile

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1367-216X


Research Staff

Sanghoon Shin (Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2019~); ProjectImpacts of large hydropower dams and climate change on river-floodplain hydrodynamics.

Shin Sanghoon

I have developed hyper-resolution global hydrological models, which can provide locally relevant but globally available information. My primary focus is on how dam construction and its operation have changed and will change water resources and hydrology, specifically surface water storage and extent dynamics. The primary domain of interest is the Mekong river basin, which is shared by six Southeast Asian countries, where the unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction has been occurring. My current work is focused on investigating (1) the historical role of dams on the past Mekong river hydrology and (2) the potential impact of increasing number and capacities of hydropower dams on the future Mekong river hydrology under changing climate.

 


Farshid Felfelani (Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2019~); Project: Land surface modeling considering human water management.

My research is mainly devoted to study the Earth’s hydrology and climate in relation to natural and human-induced changes, using hydrological models and remote sensing data over multitude of spatial and temporal scales. Specifically, I seek to advance the representation of irrigation and groundwater system—two major hydrologic processes with complex reciprocal interplay—in large-scale hydrological models for applications in highly stressed agro-ecosystems. My current and recent works include: (1) Representing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Transport in the Community Land Model; (2) Representing Inter-cell Lateral Groundwater Flow and Aquifer Pumping in the Community Land Model; (3) Global Terrestrial Water Storage and Drought Severity under Climate Change; (4) Utilizing SMAP Soil Moisture Data to Constrain Irrigation in the Community Land Model; (5) Natural and Human-induced Terrestrial Water Storage Change: A Global Analysis using Hydrological Models and GRACE.


Current Graduate Students

Tamanna Kabir (PhD Student, 2019~); Project: Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin.

I received my bachelor in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and a Masters in Water Resources Development from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. During my master’s study, I worked on the assessment of biophysical factors of storm surge hazard in the coastal region of Bangladesh. I started my graduate study as a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MSU in Spring 2019. My research interest includes the application of remote sensing data and computer modeling to understand the potential impacts of human land water management in the hydrological system. My doctoral plan is to investigate how water infrastructure development particularly flow regulations by dam construction, are altering the hydrological system in the Mekong river basin. The Community Land Model (CLM) is being used in this regard.


Ahmed Elkouk (Ph.D. Student; Fulbright Scholar From Morocco; 2021~); Current Project: Climate extremes in African transitional environments..

As a Fulbright visiting student, my work focuses on the study of climate extremes of drought and heatwave spatio-temporal events across transitional environments in Africa (e.g., the Sahel) in the context of anthropogenic global warming. Using climatic and hydrological simulations, I seek to provide information about the effects of rising global temperature on these events’ mechanisms and future evolution. Understanding these effects allows us to evaluate the future impacts of such phenomena on vulnerable societies to support potential mitigation strategies that aim to minimize such impacts.

 


Suyog Chaudhari (PhD Student, 2017~); ProjectImpacts of Dam construction in the hydrology of the Amazon basin.

Upon completing his MS, Suyog continued for the PhD program. His primary research focus for the doctorate studies is investigating the hydrological change and variability in the Amazon River basin on a multi-decadal scale using continental scale models such as LEAF-Hydro-Flood and Cama-Flood. Through multi-disciplinary collaborations from an NSF funded project, he is also striving to find a sustainable approach for hydropower development in the Amazon basin by utilizing the in-stream turbine technology and quantifying its trade-off with the conventional hydropower dams. His other PhD research objectives include drought characterization and their temporal and spatial evolution, land use land cover change, and hydrological, ecological and social impacts of dams.

 


Omid Bagheri (PhD Student, 2019~); ProjectDams, irrigation, and groundwater in high-resolution, regional model Leaf-Hydro-Flood.

During my undergraduate studies at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, I learned how to design and implement a wide variety of infrastructures in service of society. During this process, I got introduced to environmental engineering and sustainable design and management and I decided to do my MS degree in Water Engineering at Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran. The main goal of my MS thesis was to develop a bioverified spawning habitat suitability criteria for Salmo trutta in Lar River. Further, I continued research in two other projects directly relevant to my research interests. At the Water Engineering Research Institute (TMU), I gained further field research experience and a deeper understanding of ecohydrological processes by working on environmental flow requirements for regulated rivers in Urmia Lake Basin. At Fateh Asman Sharif Corporation, I worked on the application of UAVs in near-census river science to improve close-range photogrammetry. For my PhD I am working on multi-scale hydrological modeling mainly focusing on the human intervention with the environment such as land-use and land-cover change, agricultural activities and dam building. My main PhD research objective is to quantify the human impacts that will be incurred on the terrestrial hydrological cycle and fisheries due to the numerous mega dam projects planned to be built in the Amazon basin.


Huy Dang (PhD Student, 2019~); Current Project: Hydrology, Dams, and Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin.

After spending a few years working for both government and non-governmental organization on the Mekong River Basin, I have come to realized that impact from the strong desires to have a fast-growing economy of each Southeast Asia nations is so significant that some might be willing to overlook potential adverse effect on their own natural environment in exchange for development. These unprecedented changes coupled with climate change have led to alarming transboundary impacts and severe tension among neighboring countries on water availability and usage. As a PhD aspirant in hydrology, my main goal in research is to apply mathematical models, focusing on investigate and predict the future trend of changes in the hydrological regime both surface and ground under human activities with climate change projections to support the making of national/region sustainable development plans and appropriate water policies in general.


Ida Gheibi (MS Student, 2019~); ProjectDams, irrigation, and groundwater in high-resolution, regional model Leaf-Hydro-Flood.

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Current Undergraduate Students

Jac Stelly (Undergraduate Student, 2021~); Project: Climate Change, Environment, Hydrology. 

As I earn my degree in Environmental Engineering, I have studied the core STEM curriculum as well as advanced mathematics and the intricate relationship between mankind and the environment. My goal is to conduct research on the forefront of remediating the increasingly real affects of climate change by way of renewable energy, ecological modeling, and interdisciplinary impact analysis. Working with Dr. Pokhrel and his team, I am an undergraduate assistant participating in the study of how hydroelectric dam construction and a changing climate are affecting the hydrology and riparian population of the Mekong River basin.

 


Thitiwat Niramol (Undergraduate Student, 2020~); Current ProjectHydrology of the Chao-Phraya basin in Thailand

My name is Thitiwat Niramol. I’m currently studying in Computational Mathematics major at Michigan State University. I’m interested in doing a high-resolution simulation on dam and river in  Choa Phraya river basin to investigate a potential cause of flooding and study a tentative dam operation to prevent a future flooding. I intended to observe 2 major dams, the Bhumibol dam and the Queen Sirikit Dam, which are located in the upper provinces of Thailand and may have the most impact on floods in the lower area.

 


Current Visiting Students/Scholars

 


Past Group Members (Students, Postdocs, and Visiting Scholars)

Farshid Felfelani (PhD Student, 2015-2019); Project: Implementation of human water management in the Community Land Model (CLM).

  • Completion: Farshid finished PhD in December 2019.
  • Main papers published:
    • Felfelani, Farshid**, David Lawrence, and Yadu Pokhrel (2020), Representing Inter-cell Lateral Groundwater Flow and Aquifer Pumping in the Community Land Model, Water Resources Research (Accepted).
    • Felfelani**, F., Y. Pokhrel, K. Guan, and D. Lawrence (2018), Utilizing SMAP Soil Moisture Data to Constrain Irrigation in the Community Land Model, Geophysical Research Letters , 45, 12, 892–12,902 (DOI: doi.org/10.1029/2018GL080870Download PDF).
  • Current Position: Postdoc at MSU.

Sanghoon Shin (PhD Student, 2015-2019); ProjectDams, irrigation, and groundwater in high-resolution, regional model Leaf-Hydro-Flood.

  • Completion: August 2019.
  • Main Papers Published:
    • Shin, S, Y. Pokhrel, and G. Miguez-Macho (2019), High Resolution Modeling of Reservoir Release and Storage Dynamics over the Continental US, Water Resources Research, 55, 787-810 (Abstract: 10.1029/2018WR023025; Download PDF).
    • Shin, Sanghoon**, Yadu Pokhrel, Dai Yamazaki, Xiaodong Huang, Nathan Torbick, Jiaguo Qi, Sura Pattanakiat, Thanh Ngo-Duc, and Nguyen Duc Tuan (2020), High Resolution Modeling of River-floodplain-reservoir Inundation Dynamics in the Mekong River Basin, Water Resources Research, 56, e2019WR026449 (Abstract; PDF).
  • Current Position: Postdoc at University of Maryland.

Mateo Burbano (MS Student, 2017-2019); Project: Impacts of dams and climate change on the hydrology and fisheries in the Mekong region


Suyog Chaudhari (PhD Student, 2015-2017); Project: Human and climate induced changes in Lake Urmia in Iran;


Yaoliang Chen (Visiting PhD scholar from Zhejiang University, Chin, 2016-2017); Project: WaterCUBE. 


Khánh Nguyễn (2019 Summer, Can Tho University, Vietnam); Project: Hydrology, Dams, and Fishery in the Lower Mekong River Basin. 

    • Completion: Khana completed his summer term in August 2019.
    • Papers Published:
      • Burbano, M, S. Shin, N. Khanh, and Y. Pokhrel (2020), Hydrologic Changes, Dam Construction, and the Shift in Dietary Protein in the Lower Mekong River Basin, Journal of Hydrology, 581 (124454); Download PDF).
    • Current Position: PhD student at Auburn University.

Nanhang Jiang (MS Student, 2018-2018); Project: Trans-boundary water management issues in the Koshi river basin, Nepal. 


Jon Mahut (Undergraduate Student, 2018~2019); Project: Dams and Mekong hydrology. 


Benjamin Cady (Undergraduate Student, 2019~2020); Project: Dams and Mekong hydrology. 


Faisal Shahin (Undergraduate Student, 2019-2020); ProjectDams and Mekong hydrology (NSF and MSU EnSURE Program). 


External Collaborators

  • Junguo Liu (SusTECH, China)
  • Yoshi Wada (IIASA, Austria)
  • Meha Jain (M. Michigan)
  • David Lawrence (NCAR)
  • Kaiyu Guan (UIUC)
  • Gonzalo Miguez-Macho (University of Santiago, de Compostela, Spain)
  • Naota Hanasaki, Yusuke Satoh, Tokuta Yokohata (NIES, Japan)
  • Tomohito Yamada (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  • Laurent Longuevergne (CNRS – Géosciences Rennes)
  • And many other colleagues!