What we do

Research

We have a range of different projects with our PhD students. Additional funding is from a range of NSW State and Federal government sources as well as industry groups such as Sydney Catchment Authority, Graingrowers Ltd, ACTEW AGL and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd.

Harvest on the Breeza Plains
  • Adding value to rainfall records and seasonal Rainfall and climate forecasting: This includes a range of projects, including work in Pakistan on seasonal forecasting of rainfall, drought prediction in Kenya, seasonal rainfall forecasting in South Eastern Australia. All these projects are based on statistical modelling of the relationships between climate predictors, such as sea surface temperatures and spatially and temporally local climate variables (such as drought or rainfall). In addition, this project relates to the Rainfall collection and management system in collaboration with Graingrowers Ltd.
  • Land use change modelling: Land use change is a major component of biophysical changes in a catchment and is a major predictor of changes in hydrology. This work concentrates on using satellite imagery to develop models that can predict on-going landuse change.
  • Improving the quantitative linkage between ecological processes and hydrologic dynamics: The project aim is to advance our knowledge on the interactions between vegetation and water across spatial scales, and considers the implications of these advancements for the current suite of catchment/ecohydrological models. The research outcome contributes both to the basic understanding of the scientific community while at the same time is beneficial to land-water managers in Australia.
  • Digital Soil Modelling
  • Groundwater salinity and catchment scale salinity: This area covers experimental work on sources of salt in the Muttama catchment in southern NSW, but also involves groundwater investigations in Western Sydney. Our aim is to better understand the different sources of salt, the flow paths followed by water in the catchment and based on this develop local management strategies to improve agriculture and natural resource management.
  • Forecasting blue green algae outbreaks in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area: This projects involves monitoring of water quality and algae populations in combination with analysing satellite data. The project aims to develop a better forecast model for blue green algae management in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area.
  • Soil moisture modelling: This project is exploring ways to model and predict subsoil moisture in space and time using a combination geospatial inputs which represent components of the water balance, physical-based water balance models and in situ observations of soil moisture. Space-time statistics and downscaling methods will be used to combine physical-based model predictions and observations to predict soil moisture predictions at a daily time step and 250m raster resolution.
  • Soil carbon observation system: This project is developing a general approach for predicting soil C for the entire soil profile in space and time. Central to the method is the RothC model which is driven by MODIS derived-products, in particular NPP and ET. Bayesian methods are being used to calibrate the model and provide reliable estimates of prediction uncertainty.
  • Regional model intercomparison (REGMIP) with SWAT: This project focuses on the use of the Water and Global Change (WATCH) forcing data based on 40 year ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) to simulate a low land flood plain river basin system using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). This is part of a large international REGMIP project with partners across the globe and multiple models running multiple large catchments.
  • Past projects include: Land surface atmosphere modelling (evapotranspiration feedbacks), impacts of bush fires on water quality, optimal sampling strategies for water quality, rainwater harvesting, and drought forecasting in Kenya.

Teaching

Students at fieldtrip
  • Environmental statistics (UG 1st, 2nd and 3rd year level, ENVX 1002, ENVX 2001, ENVX 3002)
  • Introductory Hydrology (UG 2nd year LWSC 2002)
  • Hydrological modelling (UG 3rd year LWSC 3007)
  • Remote Sensing and Geo-Information (UG 3rd year, ENVX 3001)
  • Agricultural water and variable climate (Coursework Masters, AFNR 5512)
  • Advanced GIS (Coursework Masters AFNR)

International

We are involved in projects in several countries outside Australia. This includes Mexico, India, Nigeria, China, Mongolia.