Archive for January, 2013

AE for Atmospheric Science and Hydrometeorology

Monday, January 28th, 2013

JAWRA is seeking an Associate Editor for Atmospheric Science and Hydrometeorology. This position plays a crucial role in examining the impacts of climate change on the hydrologic regime. While JAWRA papers in this discipline typically have not focused on basic climate research, many have used techniques such as downscaling to apply the output of climate models to regional areas.

JAWRA Associate Editors (AEs) serve as primary advisors to the JAWRA Editor. Responsibilities fall into two areas: reviews and subject development. The AE for Atmospheric Science and Hydrometeorology  handles between 10 and 15 papers per year. All manuscripts are processed through our ScholarOne Manuscripts™system, with the AE selecting reviewers and, when reviews return, making a recommendation to the Editor. AE’s are encouraged to seek out qualified authors in their subject areas and encourage them to submit papers to JAWRA. These could be individual submittals or as featured collections of related papers organized around an introduction.

Associate editorship is a volunteer position earning our heartfelt thanks and an invitation to our annual AE luncheon. It also offers the opportunity to make a difference on the cutting edge of multidisciplinary water resources. The term of an AE is three years, but may be extended by mutual agreement.

Interested individuals should email their CV to the Editor at We are happy to answer any questions. We will hold this position open at a minimum until February 20th, but early application is encouraged.

Associate Editor Shaleen Jain is leaving

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I’m sorry to announce Shaleen Jain is leaving his post as Associate Editor for Atmospheric Science and Hydrometeorology. Shaleen has been part of our team since 2007 and I’ve come to depend on his expertise and good judgement. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Shaleen the best as he moves on.

E. coli from cow manure

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Early view article:Release, Dispersion, and Resuspension of Escherichia coli From Direct Fecal Deposits Under Controlled Flows,” by Rachel L. McDaniel, Michelle L. Soupir, Ross B. Tuttle, and Amy E. Cervantes.

Experimental setup.

Few of us have the distinction of defining a standard unit. Michelle Soupir is a serious researcher, and probably doesn’t put this achievement on her CV, but she has defined the standard cow pie. (It’s 700 g of manure in a 9-inch pie pan, with a moisture content of 90%, if you must know.) Laugh if you will, but she and her team are doing a lot to understand and quantify a major source of nonpoint pollution: cattle allowed to wade in streams.

Here’s the abstract: “Water-quality standards have been placed on fecal indicator organisms such as Escherichia coli in an attempt to limit the concentrations in water bodies. Cattle can be a significant source of bacteria to water systems, particularly when they are allowed direct access to streams. A flume study was conducted to quantify the effect and understand the transport of E. coli from directly deposited cattle manure. Five steady-state flows, ranging from 0.00683 to 0.0176 m3/s, were studied and loads from a single cowpie exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended water-quality standards (235 CFU/100 ml) at each flow over the hour study period. Average E. coli concentrations ranged from 102 to 105 CFU/100 ml over the hour sampling period for all flows. High spatial variations in E. coli concentrations were often seen at each sampling time, with higher concentrations typically at the bottom of the flume. E. coli resuspension was initially greater at 0.5 min after deposition, for the lowest flow (105 CFU/m2/s); however, resuspension rates became similar over time, on the order of 103 CFU/m2/s. This study demonstrates that the concentrations of E. coli can vary over the water column, and therefore grab samples may inaccurately measure bacteria concentrations and loads in streams. In addition, resuspension rates were often high, so the incorporation of this process into water-quality models is important for bacteria prediction.”

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own.]

LIDAR river bathymetry

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Early View Article:Mapping River Bathymetry With a Small Footprint Green LiDAR: Applications and Challenges,” by Paul J. Kinzel, Carl J. Legleiter, and Jonathan M. Nelson.

Klamath River bathymetry

[Good abstract, so I'll let the authors describe their work.] Airborne bathymetric Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) systems designed for coastal and marine surveys are increasingly sought after for high-resolution mapping of fluvial systems. To evaluate the potential utility of bathymetric LiDAR for applications of this kind, we compared detailed surveys collected using wading and sonar techniques with measurements from the United States Geological Survey’s hybrid topographic/bathymetric Experimental Advanced Airborne Research LiDAR (EAARL). These comparisons, based upon data collected from the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, California, and the Colorado River, Colorado, demonstrated that environmental conditions and postprocessing algorithms can influence the accuracy and utility of these surveys and must be given consideration. These factors can lead to mapping errors that can have a direct bearing on derivative analyses such as hydraulic modeling and habitat assessment. We discuss the water and substrate characteristics of the sites, compare the conventional and remotely sensed river-bed topographies, and investigate the laser waveforms reflected from submerged targets to provide an evaluation as to the suitability and accuracy of the EAARL system and associated processing algorithms for riverine mapping applications.

Nitrogen losses

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Early View Article:Effect of Flow Depth and Velocity on Nitrate Loss Rates in Natural Channels,” by James N. Carleton and Yusuf M. Mohamoud.

Nitrogen removal

One of my favorite cartoons from long ago shows Snoopy doing a happy dance, with the caption, “Whee, I’m linear!” (I’m not really sure Charles Schultz drew it, or if it was a parody.) Any nerdy engineer can appreciate the significance of linearity. Whether linearity is a sound assumption may be another matter.

Quantitative representations of nitrate in streams and rivers have often treated losses as governed by first-order mechanisms. Results of studies in recent years, however, suggest that rates of water column-sediment mass transfer are influenced by stream geometry and associated hydraulics. The authors develop expressions for the instream nitrate loss rate coefficient, k, as a function of water velocity and depth, using hydraulic geometry to empirically relate velocity to depth for two cases: (1) variability in mean conditions among reaches; and (2) temporal variability in conditions at a single reach, under changing flow. The result is expressions for k as functions of water column depth.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own.]

Evapotranspiration across US

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Early View Article:Estimation of Evapotranspiration Across the Conterminous United States Using a Regression With Climate and Land-Cover Data,” by Ward E. Sanford and David L. Selnick.


This article represents a huge amount of analysis, and the results speak for themselves.

In this study, a water-balance method was combined with a climate and land-cover regression equation. Precipitation and streamflow records were compiled for 838 watersheds for 1971-2000 across the U.S. to obtain long-term estimates of actual ET. A regression equation was developed that related the ratio ET/P to climate and land-cover variables within those watersheds. Precipitation and temperatures were used from the PRISM climate dataset, and land-cover data were used from the USGS National Land Cover Dataset.

[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own.]

Volume 49

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

JAWRA is now entering its 49th year of publication. Hard to believe, but manuscripts submitted today and accepted after a round or two or reviews, likely will be published in our “Golden Jubilee” volume! 2013 also marks the first year in which the hardcopy version of JAWRA is optional for AWRA members, though all still have access to the online version. Truth is, most members already prefer reading online, and making print optional is a good way to control our costs.

2013 should be a banner year for our readers. Three Featured Collections should appear, and all three are bound to generate considerable interest. Putting together a big collection takes a lot of effort, and our thanks go to the Guest Associate Editors. As I write, we are trying to firm up the first publication issue as April or June.

  • TMDL’s for Chesapeake Bay. Lewis Linker, Richard Batiuk, and Carl Cerco, guest associate editors. Drawing upon the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, this large collection will describe the most intensive application of the TMDL process to date. It will summarize a huge amount of research currently existing only in the “grey literature” of contractor reports.
  • Collaborative Modeling. Stacy Langsdale, Elizabeth Bourget, and Marjan van den Belt, guest associate editors. This collection will feature the state of the field of collaborative modeling, best practices, evaluation, a historical perspective, and several case studies. The focus will be on collaborative modeling as a means of conducting IWRM. Case studies will highlight a range of issues, lessons learned, and best practices associated with different phases or aspects of the process.
  • Assessing Consumptive Water Use via Remotely Sensed Data. Steve Wolff and Bern Hinckley, guest associate editors. This collection is based on presentations at the 2011 Annual Conference.