Water and Environmental System Science

Susan Hubbard

synth-imageMeeting the water needs of humans and ecosystems is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Over the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that if we are to face the water and environmental challenges of the future we must view the Earth as a single, though highly complex, system that includes the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the geosphere and the biosphere. It has also become clear that these components are coupled and highly dynamic over various spatial and temporal scales; changes that occur in one component at one location often influence the environment elsewhere at later times. Understanding these coupled processes and complex feedbacks, with sufficient accuracy and in the face of anthropogenic and global changes and in an energy-constrained world, is a prerequisite to successful management of water resources and ecosystems. Advancing research across and beyond disciplinary boundaries requires prioritization of problems, coordination of efforts, and synthesis.


  • Tokunaga, T.K., Kim, Y., Conrad, M.E., Bill, M., Hobson, C., Williams, K.H., Dong, W., Wan, J., Robbins, M.J., Long, P.E., Faybishenko, B., Christensen, J.N., and Hubbard, S.S., 2016, Deep Vadose Zone Respiration Contributions to Carbon Dioxide Fluxes from a Semiarid Floodplain: Vadose Zone Journal, v. 15, doi: 10.2136/vzj2016.02.0014. (article)
  • Faybishenko, B., S. S. Hubbard, E. Brodie, P. Nico, F. Molz, A. Hunt, and Y. Pachepsky (2016), Preface to the Special Issue of on Soil as Complex Systems, Vadose Zone Journal, 15(2), doi:10.2136/vzj2016.01.0005. (article)
  • Newcomer, M. E., S. S. Hubbard, J. H. Fleckenstein, U. Maier, C. Schmidt, M. Thullner, C. Ulrich, N. Flipo, and Y. Rubin (2016), Simulating bioclogging effects on dynamic riverbed permeability and infiltration, Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2015wr018351. (article)
  • Tran, A.P., Dafflon, B., Kowalsky, M.B., Long, P., Tokunaga, T.K., Williams, K.H., and Hubbard, S.S., 2016, Quantifying Shallow Subsurface Water and Heat Dynamics using Coupled Hydrological-Thermal-Geophysical Inversion: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., p. 1–39, doi: 10.5194/hess-2016-175. (article)
  • Wainwright, H. M., A. F. Orozco, M. Bücker, B. Dafflon, J. Chen, S. S. Hubbard, and K. H. Williams (2016), Hierarchical Bayesian method for mapping biogeochemical hot spots using induced polarization imaging, Water Resources Research, 52(1), 533–551, doi:10.1002/2015wr017763. (article)
  • Chen, J. S., S. S. Hubbard, K. H. Williams, and D. L. Ficklin (2016), Estimating groundwater dynamics at a Colorado River floodplain site using historical hydrological data and climate information, Water Resources Research, 52(3), 1881–1898, doi:10.1002/2015wr017777. (article)
  • Commer, M., J. Doetsch, B. Dafflon, Y. Wu, T. M. Daley, and S. S. Hubbard (2016), Time-lapse 3-D electrical resistance tomography inversion for crosswell monitoring of dissolved and supercritical CO2 flow at two field sites: Escatawpa and Cranfield, Mississippi, USA, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 49, 297–311, doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.03.020. (article)
  • Ulrich, C., S.S. Hubbard, J. Florsheim, D. Rosenberry, S. Borglin, M. Trotta, and D. Seymour (2015) Riverbed Clogging Associated with a California Riverbank Filtration System: An Assessment of Mechanisms and Monitoring Approaches. Journal of Hydrology, 526 (3), 1740-1753, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.08.012. (article)

Examples of Synthesis System Science and Initiative Efforts