Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Justin Pflug

(Assistant Research Scientist)

Org Code: 617

Mail Code: 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771


Brief Bio

Dr. Justin Pflug is an Assistant Research Scientist with the University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA Goddard. Prior to joining Goddard in 2022, Justin earned his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington in 2021, and was a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). Justin works with the Land Information System (LIS) team, where his research focuses on modeling and remote sensing snow water resources.


Assistant Research Scientist

ESSIC/UMD and NASA GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

May 2022 - Present

Postdoctoral Researcher

CIRES - Boulder, CO

September 2021 - May 2022

Future Park Leaders of Emerging Change intern

National Park Service - Port Angeles, WA

June 2017 - October 2017


Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2021

M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2018

B.A. in Physics, Hastings College, Hastings, NE, 2016


Nece Endowed Fellowship, University of Washington, 2021

Best student presentation award, American Meteorological Society, 2021

Student oral presentation award, American Meteorological Society Conference on Mountain Meteorology, 2020

Best student presentation award, American Meteorological Society, 2019

Best poster award, Western Snow Conference, 2019

Best poster award, Eastern Snow Conference, 2019

Earth and Space Science Fellowship recipient, NASA, 2018 - 2021

Other Professional Information

Participant of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, chapters focused on Water and Compound Climate Hazards



Singh, D., A. R. Crimmins, J. Pflug, et al. P. L. Barnard, J. F. Helgeson, A. Hoell, F. H. Jacobs, A. Jerolleman, and M. F. Wehner. 2023. Focus on compound events. In: Fifth National Climate Assessment Fifth National Climate Assessment []

Payton, E. A., A. O. Pinson, T. Asefa, et al. L. E. Condon, L. A. Dupigny-Giroux, B. L. Harding, J. Kiang, D. H. Lee, S. A. McAfee, J. Pflug, I. Rangwala, H. J. Tanana, and D. B. Wright. 2023. Ch. 4. Water. In: Fifth National Climate Assessment Fifth National Climate Assessment []

Pflug, J. M., Y. Fang, S. A. Margulis, and B. Livneh. 2023. Interactions between thresholds and spatial discretizations of snow: insights from estimates of wolverine denning habitat in the Colorado Rocky Mountains Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 27 (14): 2747-2762 [10.5194/hess-27-2747-2023]

Bishay, K., N. R. Bjarke, P. Modi, J. M. Pflug, and B. Livneh. 2023. Can Remotely Sensed Snow Disappearance Explain Seasonal Water Supply? Water 15 (6): 1147 [10.3390/w15061147]

Pflug, J. M., S. A. Margulis, and J. D. Lundquist. 2022. Inferring watershed‐scale mean snowfall magnitude and distribution using multidecadal snow reanalysis patterns and snow pillow observations Hydrological Processes 36 (6): [10.1002/hyp.14581]

Fountain, A. G., C. Gray, B. Glenn, et al. B. Menounos, J. Pflug, and J. L. Riedel. 2022. Glaciers of the Olympic Mountains, Washington—The Past and Future 100 Years Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 127 (4): [10.1029/2022jf006670]

Pflug, J. M., M. Hughes, and J. D. Lundquist. 2021. Downscaling Snow Deposition Using Historic Snow Depth Patterns: Diagnosing Limitations From Snowfall Biases, Winter Snow Losses, and Interannual Snow Pattern Repeatability Water Resources Research 57 (8): [10.1029/2021wr029999]

Kim, R., S. Kumar, C. Vuyovich, et al. P. Houser, J. Lundquist, L. Mudryk, M. Durand, A. Barros, E. J. Kim, B. A. Forman, E. D. Gutmann, M. L. Wrzesien, C. Garnaud, M. Sandells, H.-P. Marshall, N. Cristea, J. M. Pflug, J. Johnston, Y. Cao, D. Mocko, and S. Wang. 2021. Snow Ensemble Uncertainty Project (SEUP): quantification of snow water equivalent uncertainty across North America via ensemble land surface modeling The Cryosphere 15 (2): 771-791 [10.5194/tc-15-771-2021]

Reynolds, D. S., J. M. Pflug, and J. D. Lundquist. 2021. Evaluating Wind Fields for Use in Basin‐Scale Distributed Snow Models Water Resources Research 57 (2): [10.1029/2020wr028536]

Pflug, J. M., and J. D. Lundquist. 2020. Inferring Distributed Snow Depth by Leveraging Snow Pattern Repeatability: Investigation Using 47 Lidar Observations in the Tuolumne Watershed, Sierra Nevada, California Water Resources Research 56 (9): [10.1029/2020wr027243]

Currier, W. R., J. Pflug, G. Mazzotti, et al. T. Jonas, J. S. Deems, K. J. Bormann, T. H. Painter, C. A. Hiemstra, A. Gelvin, Z. Uhlmann, L. Spaete, N. F. Glenn, and J. D. Lundquist. 2019. Comparing Aerial Lidar Observations With Terrestrial Lidar and Snow‐Probe Transects From NASA's 2017 SnowEx Campaign Water Resources Research 55 (7): 6285-6294 [10.1029/2018wr024533]

Mazzotti, G., W. R. Currier, J. S. Deems, et al. J. M. Pflug, J. D. Lundquist, and T. Jonas. 2019. Revisiting Snow Cover Variability and Canopy Structure Within Forest Stands: Insights From Airborne Lidar Data Water Resources Research 55 (7): 6198-6216 [10.1029/2019wr024898]

Pflug, J. M., G. E. Liston, B. Nijssen, and J. D. Lundquist. 2019. Testing Model Representations of Snowpack Liquid Water Percolation Across Multiple Climates Water Resources Research 55 (6): 4820-4838 [10.1029/2018wr024632]