In my current role as a postdoctoral researcher, my focus revolves around the development of an integrated model. This model combines watershed hydrology and lake hydrodynamics, with the primary aim of simulating the intricate processes involved in nutrient (Nitrogen and Phosphorus) transportation. Specifically, I am investigating how these terrestrial nutrients make their way to reservoirs situated in the Midwest region. A notable challenge in this endeavor is the absence of a comprehensive framework in existing water quality models to address the legacy effects of the nutrients. To bridge this gap, my team and I are in the process of modifying a watershed modeling code. Our goal is to equip it with the capability to accurately capture the legacy effects of nutrients on water quality. By making these modifications, we aim to gain insights into how various land-management strategies and potential climate shifts influence water quality outcomes.
My doctoral research delved into the understanding of the drivers of groundwater salinization and their interplay in unconfined coastal aquifers. I investigated the impact of ‘diffused events’ such as sea level rise and droughts on saltwater intrusion in barrier island aquifers. By developing a groundwater flow and solute transport model and analyzing monitoring well data and electrical resistivity imaging on the southern coast of Rhode Island, I showed that saltwater intrusion varies seasonally as a function of change in terrestrial groundwater head. Moreover, I projected the aquifer salinization and recovery time in variable recharge scenarios. The results illustrate the vulnerability of freshwater lenses to droughts and sea level rise in barrier islands. Calibrating numerical models using time-lapse geophysical data was my novel contribution to hydrological science. Developing a methodological framework to integrate resistivity imaging and a passive seismic technique, in collaboration with US Geological Survey, I showed that depth estimation of an unconsolidated coastal aquifer is more accurate when both methods are used in concert compared to the individual methods alone. Further, I devised and validated a mixing model to calculate the flux of fresh groundwater discharge utilizing time-lapse geophysical data.