Tagged: water
On Water: Visualizing the California Drought from Space
| March 16, 2015 | 2:17 pm | Events | Comments closed

Last Wednesday, Tufts Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences was visited by UC Irvine professor and NASA water scientist Jay Famiglietti. His talk, titled “Observing the Epic California Drought and Groundwater Depletion from Space” was based on articles “The Global Groundwater Crisis” and “Satellites Measure Recent Rates of Groundwater Depletion in California’s Central Valley.”

Famiglietti began with a timeline of the California Drought, beginning with January 2014’s declaration of of a drought emergency. This was followed by a series of cuts in surface water allocation. Despite efforts, groundwater levels have continue to drop. Governor Brown’s continued attempts to mitigate the situation led to his freeing up drought relief funds and the signing of historic groundwater management legislation.

On the technical side, Famiglietti outlined the methods and instrumentation for his analysis. NASA’s Gravity Recovery Climate Experiment (GRACE) was launched in 2002 as a “scale in the sky” to weigh monthly changes in groundwater storage around the globe. Since water is much heavier than most other earth components, and its local mass fluctuates more drastically than other geological features, GRACE satellites are able to accurately measure these fluctuations in an areas gravitational field. Subtracting known or estimated changes in surface water, snow and soil moisture, scientists can quantify changes in groundwater level over time.

California’s position as a highly productive agricultural region makes this an important research area with international implications, but Famiglietti’s work isn’t limited to that geographic area. The Middle East, North China, the rest of the American Southwest, and other areas are sharing similar experiences. He notes that parts of northwestern India are experiencing the greatest rate of groundwater depletion in the world. With 33% of total water use and half of all agricultural use worldwide coming from groundwater sources, predictions of continued drought mean that action must be taken to better manage our water resources.

Mona Funiciello ’11: Urban Water Planning in China and India
| June 9, 2011 | 12:00 am | student papers | Comments closed

Mona Funiciello ’11 wrote this report for professor Weiping Wu’s new class on International Planning and Urban Policy. The class covers a broad range of topics, offering a comparative analysis of planning practices and urban policies in both developing and industrialized countries around the world. This paper addresses issues and solutions in planning for water security in the cities of China and India. For more water-related areas at UEP, you can also check out the Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) certificate program.

Weiping recently joined the department and brings expertise in migration and urban dynamics in developing countries, especially China. Weiping will be teaching the Foundations class this fall, required for all first-year students.