Jackson Receives 2003 Hydrology Section Award

Thomas J. Jackson received the Hydrology Section Award at the 2003 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California, last December. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


jackson_thomasjLadies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Dr. Thomas J. Jackson, of the United States Department of Agriculture, for the 2003 Hydrology Award.

Tom got his B.S. in fire protection engineering, his M.S. in civil engineering, and a Ph.D. under Bob Ragan at the University of Maryland in 1976. He has been a research hydrologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab since 1977. His research involves the application and development of remote sensing technology in hydrology and agriculture. These studies have ranged from small-scale controlled condition field experiments utilizing truck-mounted radiometers to large-scale multitemporal aircraft mapping and most recently satellite retrievals.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE, and currently serves on the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Committee. He has received three awards for outstanding papers, and in the year 2002 was the ARS Distinguished Scientist of the Year. In 2003, he received the Department of Agriculture’s Plow Honor Award for Maintaining and Enhancing the Nation’s Natural Resources and Environment.

Tom has made fundamental contributions through the use of multisensor (specifically in the microwave region) satellite data that have greatly enhanced distributed land surface hydrological modeling of water and energy fluxes. Dr. Jackson was the first scientist to develop a method for removing the effects of the vegetation layer from microwave remote sensing measurements, which allows the estimation of the underlying soil moisture. Dr. Jackson’s research and the techniques he developed solved one of the most significant problems blocking the widespread application of remote sensing to soil moisture studies. Specifically, the papers by T. J. Jackson, T. J. Schmugge, and J. R. Wang: Passive microwave sensing of soil moisture under vegetation canopies (Water Resources Research, 18(4), 1137-1142, 1982) and T. J. Jackson and T. J. Schmugge: Vegetation effects on the microwave emission of soils (Remote Sensing of Environment, 36, 203-212, 1991) are widely cited as methodology to remove the effects of vegetation canopy from remote sensing data.

Dr. Jackson was the first to demonstrate that surface soil moisture retrieval algorithms based on remotely sensed microwave observations developed and verified at high spatial resolution can be applied at coarser resolutions over large regions. This was accomplished within a broad experiment, the Southern Great Plains 1997 Hydrology Experiment (SGP97). SGP97 successfully demonstrated the ability to map and monitor soil moisture using low-frequency microwave radiometers. Conclusions supported a satellite-based implementation. These results elevated the importance of soil moisture measurement within NASA’s Earth Science Program and were recently cited by the Associate Administrator as a major achievement. As a result, NASA has given a soil moisture mission the highest priority for the next decade. Dr. Jackson’s leadership of SGP97 has resulted in one of the most comprehensive observing programs in the world.

Soil moisture forms an important basis for agriculture (planting, harvesting, and irrigation scheduling of crops), meteorology (development and evolution of the boundary layer), and natural hazards (floods, droughts, and landslides). Spatially distributed hydrological modeling has been hampered in the past by the absence of spatially distributed hydrological data for validation of these models. The advent of microwave remote sensing and the retrieval of spatially distributed soil moisture using Dr. Jackson’s algorithms provide us with the means of applications to various scientific problems.

He is indeed one of the few scientists to bridge the new areas of technology to hydrological modeling. I cannot think of another person who has made such an impact on land surface hydrology. Indeed, his contribution to scientific research and the community, especially over the past 5 years, through the organization and execution of the field experiments is monumental. This is evident by the 100+ scientists, faculty and graduate students who have participated in SGP97, SGP99, SMEX02, SMEX03, and the forthcoming SMEX04. The number of research theses and publications that have been spawned from these endeavors are a tribute to Tom’s vision, dedication, and persistence. On a personal note, Tom is one whose activities have a diverse spectrum; that is, he has made time in his busy schedules to mentor many a student and at the same time he has never turned away anyone who has come to him for scientific advice or with a request to participate in one of his many field experiments. I many times have been a beneficiary of his advice.

Venkat Lakshmi, University of South Carolina, Columbia


Thank you, Venkat, for your very kind interpretation of my recent research career. Thank you, President Smith, and the members of the Hydrology Award Committee for honoring me with your selection. Having been involved in the supporting side of the awards process, I also want to thank those individuals who took the time to write the very important supporting letters.

The honor of this award is two-fold. First is the recognition by your peers, and second is joining the list of distinguished hydrologists who have preceded me. A number of these individuals are here this evening.

I attribute whatever success I have had in my research career to at least three factors: the right path, the right job, and a network of colleagues and friends. The right path I owe to my advisor Bob Ragan, who steered me away from environmental engineering and into the then emerging research area of remote sensing. I began my Ph.D. work the same year that Landsat-1 or, as we called it then, ERTS-1, was launched.

As to the right job, the Agricultural Research Service and in particular the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab has been a good home. I’ve been given freedom to pursue my ideas and the time to address problems that required long-term efforts, which has been necessary for soil moisture remote sensing. Although the times are changing, one of the greatest benefits of the ARS research organization was that for my early career I spent nearly all my time doing actual research.

My friends and colleagues include my long-time coworkers and collaborators at the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab: Walter Rawls, Bill Kustas, Ted Engman, and Jerry Ritchie. Of particular value to my research experience has been my association with my friend Tom Schmugge. He has spent much time tutoring me in microwave remote sensing.

Although many have strong opinions against working in the Washington, D.C. area, I can’t imagine a better place to do hydrologic remote sensing research. The ability to interact with other agencies such as NASA and NOAA without two days of travel is a unique advantage.

I have benefitted greatly from a long association with NASA. At the scientist level, Peggy O’Neill’s rigorous attention to detail and procedure contributed to the success of our early series of field experiments. More recently, I have been fortunate to work with two outstanding instrument scientists at NASA: David LeVine on synthetic aperture radiometry and Eni Njoku on the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) and the HYDROS mission.

At the programmatic level, the Terrestrial Hydrology Program under the management of Ming Ying Wei, Dennis Lettenmaier and Eric Wood during their IPAs, Mike Jasinski and Paul Houser during their temporary assignment, and the current program manager Jared Entin has made possible the experiments we have conducted over the past few years. Another important partner in this work has been the Aqua AMSR Science and Validation Program.

The role of soil moisture within hydrology has changed since the late 1970s when I began my research in this area. There were few observational studies, and modeling often used soil moisture as an error term. At the same time, there seemed to be great potential but possibly insurmountable problems in using the new remote sensing technologies to provide a direct measurement of soil moisture. We were also very focused on the small-scale hydrology, which seemed incompatible with our measurement capabilities.

Things have changed over the years. Soil moisture is now a well-defined focus area in hydrology, there are now some solutions to major problems in remote sensing technology, there are several in situ soil moisture observing networks, and there is increased recognition of the importance of large-scale hydrology.

More significant changes are coming. In 2002, NASA launched the Aqua satellite with AMSR. This mission will for the first time attempt to provide a standard soil moisture product. We can expect that these capabilities will transfer to the next generation of operational satellites.

Even more exciting is that we will see two low-frequency (L-band) soil moisture missions within this decade. The European Space Agency will launch the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) Mission in 2007, and NASA has just approved the Hydrospheric States (HYDROS) Mission in 2010. Both of these new satellites will offer remarkable new opportunities in hydrology, and each will explore a different technology path that may lead to future systems with even better spatial resolutions and capabilities. The research in this field is still on the rising side of the growth curve, and many opportunities exist for young scientists to contribute.

Another aspect of my research cited in this award is the series of large-scale soil moisture- field experiments we’ve conducted in recent years. These experiments have given me the opportunity to work with young scientists and graduate students. Some of these talented individuals have decided to focus on soil moisture related research as a result of the experience. It has been very rewarding to see the excellent theses and papers that have resulted.

One final thanks: My wife, Lynn, is not here this evening. She has always enjoyed accompanying me to the AGU Fall Meeting, but she had previously committed to a trip to Hawaii. She has put up with the peculiarities of my research for many years, in particular, my abandoning her for a month every summer for these field campaigns.

Once again, thank you very much for the honor of this year’s Hydrology Award.

Thomas J. Jackson, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville

Rubin Receives 2004 Hydrology Award

Yoram Rubin received the Hydrology Award at the 2004 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California, last December


rubin_yoramYoram Rubin, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, is a leading researcher in contemporary hydrology. Starting in 1987, Yoram has published a considerable body of important articles, primarily in Water Resources Research, that have contributed tremendously to the emerging field of stochastic modeling of flow and transport in the subsurface, of which (in the words of Gedeon Dagan’s nomination) “he must be viewed as one of its architects.” His research dealt with transport of solutes within heterogeneous formations, the solution of the inverse problem, flow modeling, impact of nonstationarity and unsteadiness of mean flow on transport, transport of reactive solutes, risk assessment, flow and transport in the unsaturated zone, or in formations of bimodal structure. Applied mathematical problems, like the generation of random fields, or the upscaling of conductivity and macrodispersivity, need also be mentioned in this context.

Rubin’s highly original works have always addressed central problems of hydrologic modeling, on both fundamental and applied levels, as recognized by the considerable impact in the ISI citation index (more than 1000 citations).

While Yoram is one of the few leading contributors to theory, he has played in the last years a unique role in applying stochastic modeling to field problems. This is one of the most pressing needs of contemporary hydrology; while theory has made great headway, there is a serious lag in applying it to real life problems. Such an enterprise requires strong familiarity with theory and with practical aspects. His results in this area are generally seen as a great success.

The coronation of these research activities is the publication of the book Applied Stochastic Hydrogeology(Oxford University Press, 2003). The book was recommended in a recent Eos review as an “indispensable tool for students and professionals as well.” Yoram Rubin’s leading role in hydrologic science is also shown by his recent, groundbreaking work on the use of geophysical field techniques (seismic, ground-penetrating radar) in order to characterize the hydraulic properties of the subsurface. Indeed, one of the main obstacles to analysis and prediction of flow and transport at the field scale is the lack of data on spatial distribution of underlying properties. The use of nonintrusive geophysical methods proves therefore a most promising one, provided the field measurements can be used in a rational manner to identify hydraulic properties. His pioneering article with Gary Mavko and Jerry Harris (WRR, 1992) can be regarded as one of the starting points of a new discipline that has since expanded tremendously. His recent work on characterization of soil properties and moisture content by geophysical methods is of great significance to many areas where the most pressing research demands are perceived, like in agricultural engineering and soil-atmosphere interactions.

Besides advising a large number of graduate students and developing strong international links also through a stream of postdoctoral fellows, Yoram has devoted time and energy to the hydrologic community by serving in various committees, international teaching, and editorships.

For his outstanding contributions to hydrologic science, education, and practice, I am therefore proud to present a most highly deserving recipient of the 2004 Hydrology Section Award, Yoram Rubin.

Andrea Rinaldo, Università di Padova, Italy


Dear Hydrology Section President Rafael Bras and President-elect George Hornberger, members of the hydrology section executive committee, colleagues, friends, and fellow hydrologists, Thank you all for being here today, and thank you, Andrea, for the nice words.

A few weeks ago, after Rafael called to tell me I would be given this award, I began thinking what it represents. Although it means a great deal to me personally, I realized that it is most significant as a recognition of a scientific journey.

This is a journey that so far, over 20 years, has taken me to new, often unexpected, and always exciting destinations. It is a journey that I could not have made without excellent traveling companions and guides, colleagues, and friends, who teamed up with me, making it possible to accomplish more. This award is for them as much as it is for me.

I would like to mention here quite a few of those who made this journey possible, and to whom I owe my deepest gratitude. This list is long, and still I could not make it as complete as it needs to be, given the time.

First, Gedeon Dagan, my Ph.D. thesis advisor and a longtime collaborator and friend after that, who opened for me the doors into stochastic hydrogeology, and convinced me how fortunate we are to work in science and even be paid a salary for that. Peter Kitanidis and Al Woodbury, whose pioneering research guided me through the complexities of inverse modeling and geostatistics. Alberto Bellin, whose keen physical intuition and unrelenting scientific pursuit, and our very long friendship, allowed me to explore transport in heterogeneous media to ever newer depths. Andrea Rinaldo, a true Renaissance man, equally as comfortable with river networks as he is with neural networks, and as he is with literature, history, and poetry. Jerry Harris and Gary Mavko, and later on, and to this day, Susan Hubbard, who made my forays into hydrogeophysics possible. Who could have imagined that our subsurface explorations of the bacterial transport experimental site in Oyster, Virginia, would bring us to working in the Napa Valley vineyards, like we do today. Georg Teutsch, a true science leader and a far-reaching visionary, and Peter Indelman, a brilliant scientist in the great Russian science tradition: both are a source of inspiration for me. Robert Ritzi, a gifted sedimentologist and hydrogeologist, who showed me that there is much more to variograms than meets the eye.

Doug James underwrote a large chunk of this journey, although he never made it easy. My exchanges with him, especially, and all too often, when he wrote to me the bad news about his funding decisions, remind me of a quote attributed to Newt Gingrich, who once said that while it is true that he was not admitted to Princeton, he nevertheless got such a nice letter declining his application from them that he immediately felt like a Princeton alumnus.

Finally, my students, a few of which are here today: Jinsong Chen, Zhangshuan Hou, Xingyuan Chen. You should know that my meetings with you are the highlights of my days.

There are many others who were and still are close to my heart, and I apologize for not mentioning all of you.

As scientists working in our individual specialties and subspecialities, it can be easy at times to lose sight of the breadth of possibilities that hydrology represents overall. Hence I was grateful to be reminded, during the recent application process for the CUAHSI hydrologic synthesis center, of the myriad lines of inquiry that comprise hydrology.

Stepping back and looking at the breadth and depth of hydrology as a discipline, the other disciplines with which it interacts, and the real and lasting differences it can make in improving the quality of life and environmental stewardship from any number of angles around the globe-all gave me a deepened appreciation of the importance of this work and the esteem in which I hold all of my colleagues who are so dedicated to hydrologic research. Thank you all for your kind attention.

Yoram Rubin, University of California, Berkeley

Celia Receives 2005 Hydrology Award

Michael A. Celia received the Hydrology Award on 5 December 2005, which was presented by the Hydrology Section at the 2005 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.


celia_michaelIt is indeed for me a great honor and an enormous pleasure to introduce Michael A. Celia of Princeton University [N.J.], winner of the 2005 Hydrology Award of the Hydrology Section of AGU. I have closely followed Mike’s academic career since 20 years ago and can honestly say that he is among the top, most creative, and thorough researchers I have ever met in our discipline. In addition, he commands enormous respect from the community for his trajectory as a teacher and his willingness to explore uncharted research areas.

Mike Celia’s extensive work in numerical modeling of groundwater flow and transport phenomena has set a standard for the field, both from a theoretical point of view and from an application perspective to hydrogeological problems. His research in this area not only has been extremely influential in the hydrologic sciences but also has attracted great interest from specialists outside this community, and it is widely referred to in the literature of numerical methods.

Mike’s extensive work in the modeling of unsaturated flow systems has consistently set the state of the art of this crucially important area and has led to its establishment as a very exciting frontier of hydrologic research. As eloquently stated by Martinus T. van Genuchten [U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Riverside, Calif.]:

“For too many years we all struggled with numerical solutions for unsaturated flows that did not conserve mass because of the extreme nonlinearity of the constitutive relationships. Numerous papers about this problem appeared in the scientific literature in the 1970s and 1980s including several I worked on. They all only incrementally improved the solutions until Mike’s classic 1990 paper (Celia et al., Water Resources Research26, 1483-1496) in which he finally solved the problem; this paper is now a citation classic and has since motivated the development of improved numerical solutions of other nonlinear problems. The above example is merely illustrative of the type of innovation that Mike Celia has brought to the field over the years.”

Similarly, John Wilson [New Mexico Institute of Technology, Socorro], among many others, writes that Mike’s contributions “have relevance to the wider study of hydrologic science, ecohydrology, and the movement of chemicals in the environment. In short, he is changing how we model these issues in hydrologic science. There are few other researchers in any branch of hydrology who have made equivalent contributions.”

In addition to a superbly creative mind that makes him a truly magnificent researcher, Mike Celia is widely acknowledged to be one of the best teachers and expositors of hydrologic science. He is at the top of my list both as graduate student advisor and as classroom teacher. Equally impacting is his modesty and generosity of spirit. His selection as the Hydrology Award winner for 2005 will most certainly add distinction to a very distinguished award.

In the words chosen by the selection committee, we honor Mike today “for fundamental contributions to subsurface hydrology and computational methods in water resources, and for providing a model of academia at its best.” This last characterization of Mike as an academic example is especially meaningful and accurate. We are indeed fortunate at Princeton to have him as professor and department chair at Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, Rinceton University, N.J.


Thank you, Ignacio, for those very kind words. I accept this award with deep gratitude and humility.

During my academic career, I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with an amazing group of collaborators, mentors, and friends. This began when I arrived at Princeton as a graduate student and was lucky enough to have George Pinder as my advisor. His treatment of me as a graduate student has shaped much of my academic career, and I thank him today for all he has done for me. It was also my good fortune to have Bill Gray on the faculty and to have a group of fellow graduate students that included Lin Ferrand, who is special to me in many ways, and who very much shares this award with me today.

My first faculty position, at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge], allowed me to work with an amazing group of hydrologists: Pete Eagleson, Rafael Bras, Dennis McLaughlin, the late Don Harleman, Lynn Gelhar, and David Marks. Lynn and David, in particular, helped my career in many ways, and I will always be indebted to them and to all my friends at the Parsons Lab. It was there that I began my research on pore-scale models for two-phase flow, which was inspired by the original ideas of Lin Ferrand. I also focused on numerical methods for unsaturated flow.

These activities grew into a variety of related activities as I left MIT to return to Princeton. These include my work on interfacial phenomena, inspired by the ideas of Bill Gray and Majid Hassanizadeh, and on contaminant transport simulation, guided by important collaborations with Tom Russell and Dick Ewing. I have also had terrific collaborations with Dave Rudolph, Carlo Montemagno, Magne Espedal, Helge Dahle, Stefan Bachu, and a brilliant young mathematician, Jan Nordbotten, as well as a group of students and postdocs including Philip Binning, Drew Guswa, Paul Reeves, Wendy Soll, Hari Rajaram, Rudolf Held, Denis LeBlanc, Sarah Gasda, Michael Puma, Andrew Duguid, and many others. I am indebted to all of them.

In my current work, I am focusing on the fundamentals of multiphase flow, including new concepts, such as dynamic capillary pressure, and on more applied problems ranging from deep injection of carbon dioxide as a carbon mitigation strategy, to work with Ignacio, Drew Guswa, and others on scaling issues in ecohydrology, as well as a new project on water in Africa. Problems such as carbon mitigation and water in Africa represent grand environmental challenges, with geosciences, hydrogeology, and hydrology absolutely central to their solution. The central role of hydrology in important multidisciplinary problems makes this a truly exciting time for hydrologists.

In conclusion, I want to again thank Ignacio for his citation, and also for continuing to be an inspiration to all of us as a model academician and an absolutely brilliant researcher. I thank everyone who is responsible for giving me this award. I do truly appreciate it.

Michael Celia, Princeton University, N.J.

Foufoula-Georgiou Receives 2007 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou received the 2007 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


foufoula-georgiou_efiIt is my great pleasure today to introduce the recipient of the 2007 AGU Hydrologic Sciences Award, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou.

Efi took her Ph.D. at the University of Florida (environmental engineering), and she has been at the University of Minnesota for a number of years where she is the McKnight Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. Efi is codirector of NCED, the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center dealing with Earth-surface dynamics.

Efi has been an associate editor for both Water Resources Research and Journal of Geophysical Research (among others), and she has served on numerous committees in support of the profession; she currently is on the executive committee of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI). She has been honored for her work previously, as you might imagine. She is a Fellow of AGU and the American Meteorological Society, and she is a member of the European Academy of Sciences. In 2002 she was awarded the John Dalton Medal by the European Geophysical Society.

The report of the selection committee for the Hydrological Sciences Award makes it clear why we are presenting this award to Efi today:

“Efi Foufoula-Georgiou has established a truly outstanding record of scholarship and leadership in hydrology. She has pioneered important developments in space-time rainfall modeling and significantly advanced our understanding of rainfall processes over a wide range of scales. In particular, Efi was the first to introduce a multi-scale analysis framework using wavelets to capture precipitation variability across a range of scales. More recently, Efi has led the effort to develop new metrics for the verification of numerical weather prediction and climate models. This includes an important recent contribution that introduces the Forecast Quality Index. Efi’s recent contributions also include important work on geomorphological signatures of river basins and scaling in floods, including an extended hydraulic geometry relationship that captures important scale dependencies. All of these contributions have had significant impacts on the field and have established Efi as an important intellectual leader. In addition to her truly outstanding scholarship, Efi has also held many positions of leadership, including positions within AGU, AMS, and CUAHSI. Her leadership in both research and in service makes Efi an outstanding choice for this year’s Hydrologic Sciences Award, and the committee enthusiastically recommends her for the 2007 AGU Hydrologic Sciences Award.”

I am pleased to present Efi with the award for important and far-reaching contributions to space-time rainfall modeling and scaling analysis in hydrology.

George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia, Charlottesville


Thank you, George, for the generous introduction. Such occasions offer the opportunity to take a look at the road that brought one here and reminisce about a few special landmarks in one’s personal and professional lives. So I’d like to take you back many years to my small hometown in Greece, when I was 13 years old. I had made up my mind that I wanted to become an engineer, and, as a result, I was moved to the boys’ high school, the only one offering that track in my small town. I still remember the first day of the math class. The teacher entered the room, looked at me and the other four girls in the corner, and said, “What do you think you are doing here?” I will keep the story short and only say that it took less than a week for this math teacher to become a good friend, my strongest advocate, and a mentor for life. I was taught an important lesson at the age of 13: It is knowledge, not gender, that changes people’s perspectives. I have followed this motto throughout my life.

This was an event that marked my personal life, but I’d like to recall an event that marked the life of hydrologic sciences. It was about 17 years ago that the NRC report “Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences” was published under the leadership of Peter Eagleson and many other colleagues in this room. This effort established the HS program within NSF as well as the terrestrial HS program within NASA. The “Blue Book” for the first time clearly articulated that HS is an integral part of Earth sciences and proposed a way to move our research forward. Lots of progress has been made since then of which we should all be proud. We have advanced the scientific foundation of our discipline. We have also developed a voice as a community (via the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science—CUAHSI—established 5 years ago), and we are still maturing at that. Water problems are real and pressing at all scales, and sound solutions are still lacking. I am convinced that hydrologists, naturally standing at the interface of Earth sciences and engineering, are in a unique position to take the lead in providing such solutions. We should seize this opportunity and secure the investment that will make this possible.

This award was bestowed on me, but it belongs to the many people who have supported and enhanced my career over these many years. There is too little space to mention all their names, but I cherish the friendship of many colleagues and former students who make it fun to be part of this community. Thank you all. Many thanks also to the University of Minnesota for fostering my career over the past 20 years. The stimulating environment and friendship of my colleagues have made all those winters feel warmer! Last but not least, I would like to thank my husband, Tryphon Georgiou, for being a scholar to look up to. I would like to dedicate this award to our two wonderful children, Katerina (17), who is beginning her studies in chemical-biomedical engineering, and Thomas (14), a talented musician. They are a constant source of inspiration and joy, and I am thankful to them for keeping me in perspective! Thank you all for the honor of this award.

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou , University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Special Presentation: Walling Receives 2008 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Desmond E. Walling was formally presented with the 2008 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the Atmospheric Sciences, Biogeosciences, and Hydrology joint reception during the 2009 Joint Assembly, held 24–27 May 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


walling_desmondDes Walling’s award is based on his fundamental contributions to understanding the behavior of fine-grained sediment in the hydrologic cycle. For more than 2 decades he has been the major force behind international collaboration in research on fine sediment transport, which constitutes the overwhelming majority of sediment transported by rivers, as well as related work on contaminant transport, water quality, landscape dynamics, and sedimentation.

His career is characterized by a scientific approach aimed at in-depth analysis of mechanisms, sources, and rates. For example, he elucidated the role of flocculation in suspended sediment transport and explained the spatial variation of floodplain sedimentation. He used 137Cs and other radionuclides to determine sources of sediment while pioneering the use of fingerprinting approaches. He developed in-depth understanding of suspended sediment and solute rating curves and, at a much larger scale, yields of sediment to the world oceans.

With more than 350 refereed publications spanning a research career of 40 years, Des Walling’s exceptional productivity and impact continue today. Among his recent publications is the highly cited paper “Recent trends in the suspended sediment loads of the world’s rivers” (Global and Planetary Change, 39, 111–126, 2003). He and his coauthor assembled data from 145 major river systems to explore influences of climate change and other factors on sediment fluxes from land to the oceans.

While no other investigator has made comparable contributions to understanding the behavior of fine sediment transport, his exceptional scientific contributions are magnified by a warm, friendly personality and a lecture style that endears him to the students, colleagues, and numerous friends who have been fortunate to interact with him.

John L. Wilson, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro


In early November 2008, it was a shock to receive an unexpected telephone call from John Wilson informing me that I was the recipient of the 2008 AGU Hydrologic Sciences Award. That shock is now a source of pleasure. It is a great honor to be here at the AGU Joint Assembly in Toronto to receive the award and to respond briefly to the very generous comments on my achievements provided by John Wilson. I would like to make five points.

First, I would like to extend my thanks to those who nominated me. I am grateful to them for judging me worthy of nomination and for preparing what must have been seen as a very convincing case! Second, I would like to express my gratitude to AGU and its Hydrology section for giving me this award. It is indeed a great honor to have my name added to a list that includes so many key figures in the world of hydrology. Third, I would like to recognize my many coworkers, who have provided major input to my work over the past 40 years. I would like to share the award with them. Fourth, I would like to thank my mentors, and particularly Ken Gregory, who encouraged me to develop an interest in the sediment-related field, when others suggested that it was of little importance in a country such as the United Kingdom.

Finally, I would like to refer to what I see as my own journey during the course of my career. When I started my research, back in the late 1960s and 1970s, I looked to North America for inspiration and guidance. The latter was generously provided. It is a source of considerable pleasure to now return to North America to receive this award from AGU.

Desmond E. Walling, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Murugesu Sivapalan Receives 2010 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Murugesu Sivapalan received the 2010 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting, held 13–17 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


sivapalan_murugesuIt is a great honor and a privilege to present to you the recipient of the 2010 Hydrologic Sciences Award, Murugesu Sivapalan, of the University of Illinois at Urbana­Champaign.

Siva received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1986, working with Eric Wood. He then moved to the Centre for Water Research, University of Western Australia, where he spent 18 years sending from “down under” his fresh ideas and innovative new directions for research in watershed hydrology. He moved back to the United States in 2005, to the University of Illinois.

Siva’s early work laid the foundations of a new research area devoted to “scale issues in hydrologic predictions.” In a series of papers entitled “On hydrologic similarity,” he conceptualized the nature of hydrological heterogeneity and scale, and their effects on runoff response, ultimately leading to the concept of the representative elementary area (REA) as a building block for the development of distributed watershed models.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Siva pioneered the concept of “watershed thermodynamics,” paving the way to the derivation of closures for the governing equations of watershed hydrologic response and providing a prototype of minimal complexity, physically based models.

Siva’s visionary outlook regarding the science of hydrology energized the international hydrologic community when the Predictions in Ungauged Basins (PUB) initiative was launched in 2002 by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS). This decadal initiative was conceived and led by Siva, and its impact on the advancement of the scientific basis of predictive watershed hydrology has been tremendous.

Since he came back to the United States, Siva has again been leading the hydrologic sciences community with vision and dedication. His current U.S. National Science Foundation-funded effort on hydrologic synthesis, focused on “hydrologic predictions in a changing environment,” has already influenced the field in profound ways by promoting a synthetic view of water-sediment-biota interactions at the catchment scale.

Siva has certainly left a mark in the field of hydrology, through his innovative and rigorous research, his leadership skills, and his dedicated service to the community. His 2010 Hydrologic Sciences citation reads, “For outstanding contributions to the science of hydrologic predictions in ungauged basins and for international leadership in scientific hydrology.”

Please join me in congratulating Siva on his accomplishments, which are not only his but also those of the hydrologic sciences community.

Efi Fououla-Georgiou, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


Thanks, Dennis Lettenmaier, and thank you, Efi, for your citation and for your tireless efforts in nominating me, repeatedly, for this award. I am proud to be here, knowing what this means and remembering what it took to get here.

I look back over the last 50 years and think of many people—parents, teachers, friends, and colleagues—on many continents, who helped open doors that would have otherwise remained closed. I think of my high school math teacher who picked me from the crowd and lifted me up. I think of Eric Wood, who let me into Princeton when 15 other places would not accept me. I think of Jörg Imberger, who gave me my first academic job, when no one else would, on the basis of a failed interview at a third place. I think of several other people who helped me along the way; in the interest of time, I will not list them all by name. Suffice it to say, the fact that I am here is a fluke, really.

There is a famous Tamil saying: “You need a wall to paint a masterpiece.” That is how it feels to have a family like mine. I am grateful to my wife, sons, and daughter-in-law for the love and support that are the backdrop to my success.

Most of all, I want to dedicate this award to my students, some of whom are in the audience; I have been proud to have them as my extra hands as well as my extra brains. They are the ladder upon which I have climbed. I am grateful to them for sharing in my ideas and for sharing their ideas with me. I am especially delighted to be receiving this award on the same day that Ciaran Harman is receiving the Horton Research Grant. Surely, this couldn’t have been better scripted.

In my younger days I used to get an earful from my sister, whose affection I cherish, along these lines: “In attempting to walk like the swan, the crow lost even its natural gait,” which in simple English means, “Don’t pretend to be somebody that you are not.” If there is one thing I am proud of, it is that I have tried to be my own self and not imitate others, and to bend the hydrology that I do to my own personality. This has brought me enormous happiness. So I am delighted to receive this award, and I thank you all for your support.

Murugesu Sivapalan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kitanidis Receives 2011 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Peter Kitanidis received the 2011 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology.


kitanidis_peterIt is an honor to introduce Peter Kitanidis in view of his outstanding scientific achievements in the field of subsurface stochastic hydrology. Almost any area of this discipline bears Peter’s imprint, for example, geostatistics, aquifer inverse problems, modeling of groundwater flow, transport of solutes by groundwater, transport of reactive contaminants, groundwater remediation. A few qualities characterize his contributions, as embodied in his numerous articles: a deep understanding of the topic he addresses, originality, and simplicity. I, and many others, have been inspired by Peter’s works.

Paraphrasing Einstein, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more ­complex… It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Peter has gotten this touch, which stems from his talent and insight but also from his academic background. Indeed, our discipline has attracted researchers of different backgrounds, for example, engineers, hydrogeologists, physicists, and applied mathematicians, and this diversity has enriched the field. Peter’s background as an engineer invokes a certain quality: No matter how theoretical and basic some of his works may be, they are motivated by applications. And application requires precisely the two qualities in which Peter excels: deep understanding and simplicity.

Introducing Peter is also a pleasure, because of his personality. I met him for the first time in 1981, at a Chapman Conference at Pingree Park in Colorado. At that time, Peter took his first steps in stochastic hydrology, though he had already published a few papers in related fields. In the following years my first impression of him as a friendly and likable person has only been strengthened. Being his friend is a privilege, and introducing him here, not only as an outstanding scientist but also as a gentle person, is indeed a great pleasure. Another personal quality that characterizes Peter is his modesty, which has worked against the recognition of his achievements by honors and awards, and the present one is indeed overdue. This shall be corrected, and I hope to share again such joyful events in the coming years.

Gedeon Dagan, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel


Thank you, Gedeon, for your generous remarks. We live at a time when hydrology is advancing by leaps and bounds. For me, it is such a special honor to be chosen from among so many hydrologists who have forged ahead in our field. Thank you, colleagues who nominated me and colleagues who selected me.

I will take this opportunity to give some overdue thanks: first, to my teachers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who created so positive an environment that I realized an academic career was the only one for me; to my advisors, John Wilson, Roberto Lenton, Dave Marks, and Rafael Bras, for their support and encouragement; to everyone who guided me and supported me throughout my career; to the funding agencies and to program managers, like Doug James; and to the American taxpayer for supporting research.

Thank you to our hydrologic community, to colleagues like Gedeon Dagan, Steve Burges, Bill Yeh, Shlomo Neuman, Lynn Gelhar, Yoram Rubin, Jesus Carrera, Steve Gorelick, and others. They, at critical junctures, offered ideas and inspiration and spurred the competitive spirit, which is so essential to finishing the difficult tasks.

I was fortune to have amazing colleagues everywhere I went: at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, Iowa City, where colleagues like Lou and Mae Landweber helped us adjust and took us to the community theater to watch Damn Yankees; at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, where friends like Heinz Stefan welcomed us at the office and at their homes; at Stanford University, where dear colleagues like Perry McCarty, Paul Roberts, and Craig Criddle offered me exciting research opportunities.

I thank my students and postdocs, past and present, for their hard work, fresh ideas, and enthusiasm. I do not say this often enough, but I thank you with all my heart! Last but not least I thank my wife, Ranna, and my children for their love, support, and patience. I have never run a marathon, but after 32 years in academia, I think I know what it must feel like. And I believe that my family does too, because they’ve been there for me at every milestone.

Peter Kitanidis, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

Coe Receives 2007 Gilbert Award

Robert S. Coe received the 2007 William Gilbert Award at the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.


coe_robert-sLike everyone in this room, I suspect, I am very pleased that our section has chosen to honor Rob Coe with the William Gilbert Award for some four decades of scientific achievement, leadership, and good cheer in the field of geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. There is time to mention just a few of the highlights of Rob’s (ongoing!) scientific career. Rob has contributed immensely to the technique, originally developed by the Thelliers, used to infer the strength of the ancient geomagnetic field from the magnetizations of rocks. As one author of the many letters of support put it, Rob’s pioneering papers on the double-heating paleointensity technique “set the direction of the entire field of paleomagnetism and must be counted in the top ten list of paleomagnetic papers ever written.” Rob and an international team of colleagues have studied the Steens Mountain lavas—likely the best volcanic record of a geomagnetic polarity reversal on Earth—to produce a detailed account of intensity variation, directional rebounds, and impulsive field change occurring at (perhaps!) degrees per day sorts of rates. Most recently, Rob and Gary Glatzmaier demonstrated from geodynamo simulations that lateral variations in lower mantle temperature may well give rise to paleomagnetic observables, such as preferred paths for transitional poles or changes in reversal frequency. Rob has made his mark in tectonics problems as well, through paleomagnetic studies of displaced terranes in localities stretching from Papua New Guinea to Alaska, from Kazakhstan to California. His paleomagnetic work in Asia led to, among other things, a model for the accretion of the north and south China blocks to Siberia, published in Nature in 1987 and still widely accepted. In addition to his scientific contributions, Rob has been generous in his service to the Earth sciences community. He has served on numerous national and international committees and panels and been an editor for the JGG and JGR. He was president of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (GP) section at a time when there some uncertainty about the status of small sections such as ours in the Union’s structure. Rob’s strong advocacy at AGU Council meetings helped GP to thrive and remain autonomous.

Along with all of the above, it is Rob’s infectious enjoyment of all things GP, his successful mentoring of young researchers, and his pleasant and accessible nature that make him such a worthy candidate for GP’s Gilbert Award. It is with great pleasure, Rob, that we, the GP section, present to you the 2007 Gilbert Award.

Scott W. Bogue, Occidental College, Los Angeles, Calif.


Thank you, Scott, and all of my students and many colleagues who have helped make scientific research so interesting and enjoyable. Receiving an award named for William Gilbert is especially meaningful to me, as he is a personal hero and his contributions to fields as disparate as medicine and magnetism epitomize the spirit of broad inquiry that characterizes our GP section. The privilege of working in a science founded on discoveries by scientists such as Gilbert, Gauss, and Néel has been both an inspiring and humbling experience. I was fortunate to encounter great teachers and mentors, such as Francis Birch, whose undergraduate course introduced me to how physics helps us understand Earth; John Verhoogen, whose extraordinary intellect and lucidity inspired me in graduate school and remains an inspiration today; Allan Cox and Richard Doell, who communicated the exhilaration of pure research during the race to develop the geomagnetic polarity timescale; and Mervyn Paterson, who opened my eyes to sophisticated experimental techniques in a completely different area of research. My good fortune continued when I was hired at UC Santa Cruz by Aaron Waters, whose astuteness in laying the foundation of our department fostered the stimulating, collegial environment that has kept me happily in Earth science at Santa Cruz for my entire career. During this time I have enjoyed incredible freedom to explore a wide range of subjects, all curiosity-driven and a couple of them justifiably deemed esoteric. A great pleasure has been witnessing some of these areas, such as paleointensity and Asian tectonics, take off and be carried farther forward by younger colleagues and students than I would have thought possible.

I spent most of my undergraduate years learning chemistry and physics, but love of the outdoors and a roommate in geology gradually turned me toward studying the Earth. At first I was most attracted to examining natural processes for their own sake. It took a number of years to become persuaded that we mere mortals could develop a significant understanding of how our planet has operated and the broad sweep of geologic history. This is still what I find most remarkable and fascinating about our science: peering into the past using the rock record, lab and numerical experiments, imagination, and reason to retrieve insights about the Earth from the depths of time.

Robert S. Coe, University of California, Santa Cruz

Lagroix Receives 2008 William Gilbert Award

France Lagroix received the William Gilbert Award at the 2008 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held 17 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.


lagroix_franceIt’s a great pleasure to be able to say a few words about this year’s recipient of the William Gilbert Award, France Lagroix. She is a former student at the Institute for Rock Magnetism, so we had a front-row seat as she developed from a bright graduate student to an accomplished geophysicist. At Minnesota, France studied magnetic anisotropy in windblown loess from Alaska to extract paleoclimate records of regional wind directions over the past 130,000 years. France may not have been the first to discover magnetic anisotropy in loess deposits, but in her typically proactive manner she estimated errors that could compromise the original anisotropy record, and then developed magnetic techniques to recognize and correct for them. She further sampled and studied over 4000 hand samples to isolate statistically significant changes in anisotropy repre-senting changes in wind directions in Alaska when glacial climates gave way to interglacials. One of her letter writers states, “These observations and interpretations of Dr. Lagroix have opened a new field not only for decoding Alaska’s paleoclimate but also [for yielding] the potential for global paleoclimate reconstruction since loess is the most frequent rock type on the surface of continents.”

France moved on to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, where she has assembled a multi-institutional rock magnetism group that brings together rock magnetists and condensed matter physicists to study the magnetism of iron oxide nanoparticles. Already in her young career, France’s research places her in an elite group of new rock magnetists destined to be the future leaders of our discipline. She is breaking new grounds of research in the application of magnetism to broad Earth science questions, is demonstrating how mutual collaboration is the essential ingredient for frontier research in Earth sciences today, and is most deserving of the 2008 William Gilbert Award.


Bruce M. Moskowitz and Subir K. Banerjee, Institute for Rock Magnetism, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


I would like to thank, first, my peers, who deemed that the scientific contributions I have made so far were worthy of a nomination, and second, the AGU Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism award committee for honoring these works with the 2008 William Gilbert Award. I have had, and continue to have, the privilege of working with scientists who are truly passionate about science. Their dedication to finding answers to unsolved questions is, to say the least, infectious. A healthy dose of chance and opportunity led me to the two advisors and mentors, Graham J. Borradaile and Subir K. Banerjee, who introduced me to the applications of magnetic fabrics and paleomagnetism to solving structural and tectonics problems, and the fundamentals of rock and mineral magnetism and its application to loess and other sedimentary systems, respectively.

The years spent at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Canada), first as an undergraduate (1993–1997), then as a master’s student (1997–1999), and finally as a research associate (1999–2000), served to build a solid foundation of geology, enabling my growth as a critical thinker. And the years spent at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) preparing my doctoral dissertation (2000–2004) were enriching, bringing depth with respect to my understanding of mineral magnetism and breadth as a geoscientist. Since 2004, as a research scientist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France), efforts have been fruitful in establishing new experimental platforms aimed at furthering, in the years to come, our understanding and solving remaining questions in the field of mineral and rock magnetism and its numerous geological and geophysical applications.

Finally, to my colleagues and friends and to my family, your encouragement, understanding, and support make possible balancing the various facets of life.


France Lagroix, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France

Dennis Kent Receives 2009 William Gilbert Award

Dennis Kent received the William Gilbert Award at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.


kent_dennisIt is an honor to introduce Dennis Kent, this year’s William Gilbert Award winner. Over the more than 35 years since his first publication, Dennis has poked around in most corners of the science that we do in this section. And when Dennis pokes around, he frequently finds some new pearl of wisdom. He has given us hundreds of treasures in the form of published papers. Early on, he developed a passion for the magnetization of mud. Really, mud. Since then he has studied rock, glass, dust, ice, and smoke (and the last three were all in just one paper). But he doesn’t just study magnetic properties of stuff; he uses those properties to solve problems throughout Earth science. He has contributed to the understanding of wandering poles, evidence for cometary impacts, wiggles of various sorts, and the nature of the geomagnetic field. He played a key role in putting together marine magnetic anomalies, biostratigraphy, isotopic dating, and magnetostratigraphy to build the geological time scale. This humongous effort is his most cited body of work.

But Dennis isn’t simply a paper machine. He is also a role model for all of us. And not just for those of us lucky enough to have been mentored directly by him, but also through his informal advising. He is very generous in providing time in his lab, and he has helped many young scientists with thoughtful advice. He has many Ph.D.s and postdocs in his flock as well as many students who had him as an external examiner.

He has consistently served the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (GP) community as reviewer, as associate editor, with service on U.S. National Science Foundation panels and AGU committees, and as president of our section.

It is appropriate that the GP section present this award to Dennis. He needs it to complete his collection of medals and awards. He won the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America in 2003. He’s a member of the National Academy. He’s got not one but two doctorates, and one of them is French! He got the the Vening Meinesz Medal from the University of Utrecht and the Petrus Peregrinus Medal from the European Geosciences Union. So to give this honor to Dennis is pretty much a no-brainer. I just hope he can find room on his mantelpiece for this one.

Lisa Tauxe, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla


Thank you very much, Lisa, for your generous citation, and thank you, colleagues and friends, for being instrumental in the bestowal of this honor. This award is beautifully made, and the depiction of Gilbert’s terrella with the dipole axis laid horizontally is a wonderful reminder of the value of unorthodox perspectives in science. The GP section of AGU has been a great source of inspiration at all stages of my career by providing a forum for our discipline across the generations. I am grateful to all those “studious of the magnetic philosophy”—mentors, students, postdocs, and fellow researchers alike—who have provided such a collegial and stimulating context. Sustained collaborations with, to name a few, Neil Opdyke, Bill Lowrie, Steve Cande, Lisa Tauxe, Paul Olsen, Jeff Gee, and Giovanni Muttoni, ongoing joint work with great figures like Ted Irving, as well as further prospects of interactions with a new generation of thinkers and doers on the scene, have motivated and enriched my efforts in (continuing in the translated words of William Gilbert) “discovery of secret things and in the investigation of hidden causes…from sure experiments and demonstrated arguments” (not to mention lengthening my publication list!). I also gratefully acknowledge the more than 35 years of grant support from NSF and concurrent institutional support from Lamont and more recently Rutgers, and of course Carolyn on the home front, that provided the wherewithal to have such a good time doing research. Thank you all again, and be assured that the William Gilbert Award will have pride of place on my bookshelf.

Dennis Kent, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N. J., and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N. Y.