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Understanding Solute Transport in an Evolving Environment: Integrated Approaches and Implications in Risk Analysis

April 12, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Wednesday April 12, 2017
Building 84, Room 318
11:00 AM12:00 PM

About the Presenter:
Dr. Erica Siirila-Woodburn is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Energy Geosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in 2013 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain before joining LBNL in 2015. A hydrogeologist by training, her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding physical, ecological, and geochemical solute transport processes across many spatial scales. Her research is focused in the fields of integrated groundwater-surface water hydrology, stochastic approaches and geostatistics, risk analysis, and numerical techniques.
Increasingly resource-intensive lifestyles create strains on surface and subsurface water resources via demands for food, raw materials, and energy. Hydrologic modeling can be used as a tool to better understand the movement and partitioning of water, and the implications on contaminant transport, water resource management, ecosystem function, and recreation. An overview of my past and current research will be presented ranging from flow and transport in saturated porous media to integrated hydrologic topics spanning across the critical zone (i.e. the region from bedrock to vegetation canopy). Quantitative risk analysis (both human health and risk of failure) will be used to demonstrate how uncertainty in environmental systems propagates to risk metrics, thereby providing stakeholders with tools to make environmental management decisions. Example topics include the impact of spatial persistence patterns of subsurface heterogeneity, geostatistical model selection, anomalous transport breakthrough curve characterization, and the up-scaled effect of pore-scale processes at the watershed scale. Recent work using integrated hydrologic modeling, which accounts for non-linear feedbacks via the explicit modeling of the water-energy balance, will also be presented. With advancements in high performance computing, state of the art watershed models allow for the explicit simulation of groundwater-surface water interactions in high resolutions, allowing for a better understanding of system dynamics and for prediction purposes. Examples projects will include the transport of Cs137 following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident of 2011 and the impact of climate change on watershed dynamics in a mountainous headwater catchment in the western US.


LBNL, Building 84, Room 318
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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