Katul Receives 2012 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Gabriel G. Katul received the 2012 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


KatulI am delighted to present Professor Gabriel Katul of Duke University with the 2012 Hydrologic Sciences Award. He has made massive contributions to the understanding and prediction of hydrology, and it is for his work that we (Professors Poporato, Hornberger, Rinaldo, Rodriguez-Iturbe, Brutsaert, and Raupach) nominated him.

I highlight a few of Gabriel’s contributions: He pioneered our understanding of the role of organized, multi-scale eddy motion in the transport of heat and water from forested ecosystems. He also derived coupled Lagrangian-Eulerian turbulence theories that were the first to include plant physiology and developed a fundamental understanding of how complex topography modifies the exchange of mass, energy, and momentum. He provided leadership in the FACE and Fluxnet experiments critical to understanding the carbon cycle and explained the role of atmospheric boundary layer dynamics in controlling convective precipitation.

His impact is well quantified by incredible numbers of papers and citations, but most important, by his outstanding Ph.D. graduates and post docs who have gone on to great success around the world. Those who have had the pleasure to interact with Gaby know he is enthusiastically brimming with ideas, generous, and always full of energy to make headway tackling new research problems. Please join me in warmly applauding the selection of Gabriel Katul as the 2012 Hydrology Awardee, a wonderful human being, colleague, and friend.

—MARC B. PARLANGE, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland


Thank you, Marc, for the kind comments and unwavering support as a mentor and friend. I am honored by this award, which I share with many people.

I was fortunate to commence my graduate work with Richard Cuenca at Oregon State University, who introduced me to the field of land-surface processes and how to conduct long-term experiments, as well as to Marc Parlange, who later accepted me as his first Ph.D. student before arriving at University of California, Davis. Marc set the agenda on how to move the field of land-atmosphere interactions forward by diffusing into it advances in turbulence. I was fortunate to overlap at Davis with John Albertson, a friend who became a colleague at Duke University and whose guidance on uncountable aspects of hydrology, turbulence, and academia I had to consult with before making any decision or progress.

Immediately after my graduate work, luck brought me to the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, where I formed partnerships with exceptional colleagues such as Ram Oren and David Ellsworth—whose encyclopedic knowledge about ecosystem carbon-water cycling led us to discover numerous intersections between ecology, hydrology, and fluid mechanics—as well as Brani Vidakovic, whose expertise on multi-scale analysis was crucial to manuscripts utilizing wavelet transforms. Another fortuitous event occurred when Amilcare Porporato joined Duke University, which led to a quantum jump in our ability to provide solutions to the stochastic representation of the soil-plant system.

But most important, I wish to acknowledge the contributions of my graduate students and postdocs, Cheng-I Hsieh, Chun-Ta Lai, Mario Siqueira, Karen Wesson, Paul Stoy, Jehn-Yih Juang, Kimberly Novick, Sally Thompson, Alexandra Konings, Tirtha Banerjee, Cheng-Wei Huang, Davide Poggi, Edoardo Daly, Sari Palmroth, Annalisa Molini, Stefano Manzoni, Guilia Vico, and Tomer Duman as well as all the visitors who spend time in my group.

I am grateful to the Hydrologic Sciences Award committee for their confidence and to the American Geophysical Union.

—GABRIEL G. KATUL, Duke University, Durham, N. C.