Kate Hale, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar | Institute of Northern Engineering | University of Alaska Fairbanks

Digging in

I am a snow hydrologist, focusing on water resources across the United States, with a focus on the western, mountainous United States. Currently, I am focused on data assimilation and modeling to improve Alaska snow water equivalent assessments (SWE), an area where  SWE measurements and relevant observation networks are particularly sparse due to extreme topographic gradients and the state’s vast spatial extent.

I am also a lead researcher on the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) funded "Summit to Shore" project. This project entails conceptually and physically constructing a new snow observation network across Mount Mansfield/the greater Lake Champlain valley and developing accompanying modeling, remote sensing, and UAS efforts and research questions in collaboration with neighboring snow observation groups.

I have a greater interest in evaluating changes in runoff in response to changes in surface water inputs in the context of warming within snow-dominated, mountainous regions. Using hydrologic models, empirical and remotely sensed datasets and field-collected data at the sub-catchment, catchment, and continental scales, I aim to quantify the timing and the amount of downstream water within the broader water balance and hydrologic partitioning frameworks. Understanding the importance of snow as a water resource and its unique storage characteristics, my broader goal is to quantify hydrologic changes through time, emphasize local and regional conservation, and inform those who rely on this water supply. My future aspirations include academia, federal research, and continuous study and exploration of the natural world.