September 22, 2021: Navigating the Clouds on the Horizon: A Vision for Reproducible Hydrologic Modeling in the Cloud


Pangeo Showcase talk by Alejandro Flores, Boise State University


Alejandro (Lejo) Flores is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Boise State University. His research focuses on understanding mountain watersheds as regional Earth systems where large-scale patterns emerge as a product of interactions between and among biophysical processes and human action. His research synthesizes numerical models of and data characterizing regional climate, ecohydrology, and human, land, and water management activities in order to assess how perturbations propagate across scales and through component systems. At Boise State Dr. Flores is the principal investigator and director of the LEAF group, which researches the intersection of water, energy, nutrients, policy, and human activity. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award and an Army Research Office Young Investigator Program award. He is a co-principal investigator on NSF’s Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Colorado State University, and he received his Ph.D. in hydrology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


This talk provides an overview of a new NSF project that will produce knowledge of how precipitation, snow, and runoff in the Snake River Basin will be impacted by climate variability and change, while also expanding the use of cloud computing in water science research. Although cloud computing is increasingly important in research, the water science community lacks training materials and case studies to onboard researchers to effective practices. This project addresses this tension by: (1) developing cloud computing solutions to three common computing uses in water science, (2) using those approaches to create datasets that characterize the effects of climate variability and change on hydrology in the Snake River Basin, and (3) designing and disseminating educational materials to train water scientists in the use of cloud computing. This project will produce scientific insights and datasets to help water managers prepare for climate change in the western US and prepare the next generation of water scientists in modern computing paradigms. Specific focus is paid here to how open and reproducible computing platforms are essential to this project and, importantly, can help advance co-production of knowledge and decision support for stakeholders in the realm of water management.


Thanks to everyone that was able to attend! If you weren’t able to attend but happen to watch the video and have any questions please feel free to ask away here (tag me so I see it) and I will reply! Also, feel free to email me with any questions.