My Report from the 5th CUAHSI Biennial Colloquium (Part 1)
In this 1st part I will give a short intro to what is CUAHSI, some details about the colloquium, and links to my abstract and poster (scroll to the bottom of this post).
I am new to the CUAHSI community, so I’ll start with the disclaimer that this is the first CUAHSI event I have ever been to.
CUAHSI is The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. It represents above 100 US universities. University of Wyoming is one of them and that’s how I learned about CUAHSI and this symposium (or colloquium). Here’s a map and a list of the other CUAHSI members.
From CUAHSI’s annual report (2015) I learned that their mission is threefold:
- to strengthen the multidisciplinary collaboration,
- to develop and operate research infrastructure, and
- to promote water education and training.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides almost all of CUAHSIs funding. The biggest part of the budget goes for the Water Data Center (40%). The Water Data Center is something like open repository for datasets, as far as I understand. I haven’t used it yet, but I hear you can browse, download/upload, visualize data, and even get a DOI number, so your dataset is citable.
The president (Richard P. Hooper) wrote in his Letter from the President, that CUAHSI’s biggest effort is in providing data services. The biggest 2015 accomplishments according to this letter are: the release of web application to access the data catalog; the release of R-Library WaterML for search and download of data in R-environment; and, the establishment of website for data-driven hydrology education.
The When, Where, and What of CUAHSI Biennial
This year the event took place at the beautiful and isolated National Conservation Training Center (Shepherdstown, WV) from July 24th to July 27th. The Center is located next to Potomac river, few hours from Dulles international airport.
The topic of the meeting was:
“Finding Your Place in Big Data: Using Observations to Understand Hydrologic Processes for Predicting a Changing World“
It was structured around few keynote lectures, some parallel sessions, half-day of field trips or workshops, a community modeling discussion, a graduate student panel discussion, and not to forget – the poster session. My mission going to this event was to present a poster and to gather info about the hydrology community… what it looks like, what it cares about, what are the key issues. That kind of mission.
I got approved for two traveling grants to attend and present my poster at the symposium: the CUAHSI traveling grant and Wyoming Women in Science and Engineering (WWISE) traveling grant by Wyoming EPSCoR. Also, I should mention that the rest of my expenses (about 1/3rd) will be reimbursed by the Department of Ecosystems Science and Management (UW).
So, I submitted an abstract and had a poster in the section on Large-Scale Data Mining and Synthesis. Here’s a copy-paste from the abstract which describes what this work was about:
Our research focuses on characterizing the variability of several snow-water equivalent (SWE) derived parameters (e.g. : annual peak SWE accumulation, April 1st SWE, timing of peak SWE, period of snowmelt, rate of snowmelt, timing of snow disappearance) and identifying patterns in their temporal and spatial variability. The study exploits historical daily data from 70 SNOTEL stations located throughout Wyoming for 1978-2015.
We describe temporal and spatial variability in snowpack signals with the purpose of providing information that will improve the understanding of hydrologic response and streamflow response to snowpack dynamics.
SNOTEL stands for snow telemetry. It is automated monitoring network operated by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The network covers the eleven western US states with more than 700 stations at remote high-elevation locations (serviced annually), which provide open-access data for about 30 years and in near real time. The main purpose of this network is to provide data for forecasting water supplies in the West. I used historical data from the stations within Wyoming (70 stations).
I got sidetracked analyzing these data. Snow variability is an important piece of the main puzzle I am trying to solve, which is related to changes in streamflow at few snowmelt-dominated headwaters watersheds in Wyoming.
There wasn’t much about snow and snow-related hydrology at the CUAHSI biennial, consequently there was’t that much interest in my poster, either. Nevertheless, I had few interesting conversations on data quality issues of readily available data. There is lots of data out there, but it comes in different formats, and more importantly with variable quality and metadata availability. There was a remark on the representativity of snow-water equivalent (SWE) measured at SNOTEL stations (which is a point measurement, basically).
It seems we all are moving or should move to remote sensing (satellite data) and methods borrowed from photogrametry, when it comes to snow and snow-dominated hydrology. My take on that is – don’t dismiss yet the point data, don’t dismiss field measurements & observations. But then again, I am an outsider, who likes to play with data.
So, in case the quality of the figure above is hurting your eyes, here’s a link pack, where you can view and even download the poster pdf file. Enjoy:
- Link to a pdf of the conference abstract: abstract 2016 CUAHSI Biennial
- Link to a pdf of the poster: poster 2016 CUAHSI Biennial
- Link to the conference program and abstracts: 2016 CUAHSI
The 2nd part of my 2016 CUAHSI report is with all my notes (& memories) from the talks I listened to, as well as, all relevant tweets I could find (the hashtags I used are: #CUAHSI and #CUAHSIbiennial).
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