Dennis P. Lettenmaier
JISAO Senior Fellow, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dennis Lettenmaier completed his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW in 1975 and joined the faculty as a Research Associate in 1976. His early work was in the design of stream quality monitoring networks. Later he focused on stochastic hydrology which is essentially a representation of random variability in streamflow sequences.
In the mid 1980s he was a participant in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Reports to Congress on the Effects of Global Climate Change in the United States. In the reports he and others evaluated the effects of climate change on the reliability of California's water resources. Shortly thereafter, he and colleagues at UW and Princeton University began work on the Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrology model. The model has since been widely used for simulation of streamflow and land-atmosphere moisture and energy fluxes in large river basins, as well as over continental and global land domains. Among the uses of his group's modeling constructs have been seasonal to interannual streamflow and drought forecasting, reconstruction of long-term hydrologic records (including soil moisture and drought), climate change assessments, and assessments of the effects of historical land cover change on streamflow and other hydrological variables.
Dennis has had a long standing interest in the application of remote sensing to hydrologic problems and spent a year as the program manager for NASA's Terrestrial Hydrology Program in 1997-98. Recently he has been participating in development of the scientific context for the proposed U.S.-French Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission, which will provide swath altimetry and water extent data for millions of water bodies with surface area greater than one square km.
Dennis was the inaugural Chief Editor of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Hydrometeorology and is the President-Elect of the American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section. In February 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
In his spare time Dennis enjoys sailing, climbing, and recreational running.