Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Kristen Marie Whitney

(POST DOC)

Kristen Marie Whitney's Contact Card & Information.
Email: kristen.m.whitney@nasa.gov
Phone: 301.614.6569
Org Code: 617
Address:
NASA/GSFC
Mail Code 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Employer: NPP POST-DOC CONTRACT

Brief Bio


Dr. Kristen Whitney a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working with Dr. John Bolten and Dr. Sujay Kumar in the Hydrological Sciences Lab. Her current work utilizes NASA’s Land Information System (LIS) for land surface modeling and remote sensing data assimilation, focusing on drought impacts to water and food security. Kristen is also contributing to the development of the North American Land Data Assimilation System, phase 3 (NLDAS-3), using remote sensing and land surface modeling for forecasting and monitoring. She also collaborates on the "Upper Missouri River Basin Data Value Study," integrating in-situ and satellite data into land surface modeling for enhanced prediction and response to hydrometeorological hazards (e.g., wildfires), with results documented and communicated to the U.S. Congress.


Kristen received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2022. Her dissertation work was selected for the 2022 Central Arizona Project Award for Water Research. For this NASA-funded effort, she improved the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) land surface model to investigate the impacts of climate change and forest disturbances to Colorado River Basin (CRB) water and energy cycles. Kristen led meetings with water managers and other application agencies to gather feedback and provide decision-relevant results, which she helped transition to operations at CRB water management agencies. She also developed a web-based software tool (CRB-Scenario-Explorer) to expand product availability and accessibility.


Kristen served as the appointed graduate student representative on ASU's high-performance Research Computing governance board, and contributed GIS engineering products as an intern at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), Inc. She holds an M.S. in Geological Sciences from ASU (2011), and a B.S. in Environmental Geology from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2015, cum laude).

Positions/Employment


NASA Postdoctoral Fellow

ORAU - Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

March 2023 - Present


Postdoctoral Research Scholar (Temporary)

Arizona State University, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment - Tempe, AZ

December 2022 - March 2023


Graduate Research Associate

Arizona State University, School of Earth and Space Exploration - Tempe, AZ

August 2016 - December 2022


Student Intern (paid summer internship)

Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), Software Products division - Redlands, CA

May 2018 - August 2018


Graduate Research Associate

Arizona State University, School of Earth and Space Exploration - Tempe, AZ

May 2013 - August 2015


Soil Conservation Intern

Natural Resource Conservation Service - Capitola, CA

January 2012 - April 2012


Hydrology and GIS Analyst Intern

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency - Watsonville, CA

November 2011 - April 2012

Teaching Experience


  • Fall 2018, ASU, SES 502 - Exploring SES Research (Teaching Assistant)
  • Fall 2017, ASU, CEE 440/CEE 545/GLG 471 - Hydrology (Teaching Assistant)
  • Fall 2016, ASU, CEE 440/CEE 545/GLG 471 - Hydrology (Teaching Assistant)

Professional Service


  • Peer reviewer: NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES), Water Resources Research, Scientific Data Nature.
  • June 2023, Invited presenter for "Future Career Day" for girls, St. Bernard's High School, UK.
  • July 2021 - December 2022, Appointed Student Representative, Research Computing Governance Board of Arizona State University.
  • September 2021, Invited panelist on session, "Assessing the current state of research on integrated land and water policy and management", American Water Resources Association 2021 Specialty Conference.
  • November 2017, Lead exhibitor, "21st Annual Earth & Space Exploration Day", School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University.
  • September 2011 - December 2012, Educational outreach volunteer, Livestock and Land Program, Ecology Action, Santa Cruz, CA.

Awards


Grants


Improving NASA SMAP soil moisture using UMRB data for improved wildfire risk

Upper Missouri River Basin Data Value Study - NOAA NIDIS - Awarded: 2023-08-01


Dates:  - 

Amount $100,000


Understanding Wildfire Risks and Hydrologic Impacts using Satellite-Based Remote Sensing and Land Surface Modeling

NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship - Goddard Space Flight Center - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - Awarded: 2022-10-04


Dates:  - 

Amount $194,962


Simulating Hydrologic Responses in the Colorado River to Climate and Land Use Change Using a Data-Infused Land Surface Model

Babbitt Dissertation Fellowship - Lincoln Institute of Land Policy - Awarded: 2020-05-15


Dates:  - 

Amount $10,000


Exploring the response of the Colorado River Basin to future climate

Summer Exploration Graduate Fellowship - School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University - Awarded: 2019-05-20


Dates:  - 

Amount $8,000

Special Experience


Publications


Refereed

2023. "Enhancing the accessibility and interactions of regional hydrologic projections for water managers." Environmental Modelling & Software 167 105763 [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2023.105763] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "A stakeholder-engaged approach to anticipating forest disturbance impacts in the Colorado River Basin under climate change." Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 149 (7): 04023020 [https://doi.org/10.1061/JWRMD5.WRENG-5905] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Spatial attribution of declining Colorado River streamflow under future warming." Journal of Hydrology 617 129125 [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2023.129125] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "On the value of satellite remote sensing to reduce uncertainties of regional simulations of the Colorado River." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 26 (21): 5627-5646 [https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-5627-2022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "A Deterministic Approach for Approximating the Diurnal Cycle of Precipitation for Use in Large-Scale Hydrological Modeling." Journal of Hydrometeorology 20 (2): 297-317 [https://doi.org/10.1175/jhm-d-18-0203.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Ecohydrological role of biological soil crusts across a gradient in levels of development." Ecohydrology 10 (7): [https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1875] [Journal Article/Letter]

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Invited

Phase three of the North American Land Data Assimilation System in support of water and agricultural management efforts

December 2023

On behalf of NASA’S Earth Information System team.

NASA Acres Kick-off Event. St. Louis, MO.


A Stakeholder Engaged Approach to Anticipating Forest Disturbance Impacts in the Colorado River Basin under Climate Change

October 16, 2022

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Wang Z, Quay R, White DD, Mahmoud MI, Templeton N.

Arizona Hydrological Society 34th Annual Symposium. Tuscon, AZ.


Improving and Employing a Hydrologic Model to Enable Water Resource Planning Under Future Climate and Land Cover Uncertainties

June 31, 2022

Early Career Scientist Webinar, Climate Hazards Center, University of California, Santa Barbara. (virtual)


Colorado River Hydrology Under Future Climate and Land Cover Changes

June 13, 2022

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Bohn TJ, Mascaro G, Wang Z, Xiao M, Mahmoud M, Cullom C, White D, Quay R.

ASU AND UCLA Hydrology Research Day. Tempe, AZ.


Differential climate-change response across the Colorado River due to seasonal precipitation gradients

June 26, 2021

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z.

Nexus Exploration of Opportunities in Uruguay and Argentina (NEXO-UA), Speaker Series. (virtual)


Increased Temperatures Overwhelm Precipitation Changes Leading to Streamflow Declines in the Colorado River Basin

April 24, 2021

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z., Xiao M, Mascaro G.

Hydrosystems Engineering Seminar, Arizona State University. (virtual)


Other

Enhancing the accessibility and interactions of satellite-informed hydrologic projections under climate and forest changes for water managers

2023

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, White DD, Wang Z, Quay R, Mahmoud MI, Templeton NP.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.


Assessing the feasibility of SMAP-enhanced vegetation dynamics as an indicator of wildfire danger: A case study of the 2017 Lodgepole Complex Fire in Montana

2023

Co-authors: Le MH, Bolten JD, Holmes TR, Whitney KM, Ahmad SK, Lahmers TM, Liu PW, Bindlish R, Tabor K, Kumar SV.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.


On the sensitivity of future snowpack and streamflow in the Colorado River Basin to the selection of precipitation partition method

2023

Co-authors: Wang Z, Vivoni ER, Whitney KM, Xiao M, Mascaro G.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.


Improving and Employing a Hydrologic Model to Enable Water Resource Planning Under Future Climate and Land Cover Uncertainties

July 2022

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Wang Z, Mascaro G.

American Geophysical Union Frontiers in Hydrology Meeting. San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Assessing Future Climate and Land Use Impacts to the Colorado River using a Bottom-up Modelling Approach Informed by Water Managers

June 2022

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni E, Wang Z, Mascaro G.

European Geosciences Union General Assembly. (virtual). https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-5757


Warming-driven Snowfall Declines and Evaporative Increases Overwhelm Precipitation Increases Leading to Colorado River Streamflow Declines

2021

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z, Xiao M, Mascaro G, Mahmoud MI, Cullom C, White DD. 2021.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. New Orleans, LA. https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm21/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/866003


Assessing Future Climate and Land Use Impacts to the Colorado River using a Bottom-up Modelling Approach Informed by Water Managers

2021

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Wang Z, Mascaro G.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. New Orleans, LA. https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm21/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/866673


Increased Temperatures Overwhelm Precipitation Changes Leading to Streamflow Declines in the Colorado River Basin

May 2021

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z., Xiao M, Masacro G.

European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2021. (virtual) https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3151


Application of Satellite Products in Surface Hydrological Modeling of the Colorado River Basin

2020

Co-authors: Xiao M, Wang Z, Mascaro G, Whitney KM, Vivoni ER.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. (virtual)


Increased Temperatures Overwhelm Precipitation Changes Leading to Streamflow Declines in the Colorado River Basin*

2020

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. (virtual) https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm20/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/672643

*Awarded: Remote Sensing Technical Committee Student Award


Simulating Hydrologic Responses in the Colorado River to Climate Change

2019

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER, Wang Z.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA


Long-range scenario modeling of the Colorado River Basin

November 8, 2019

Co-authors: Vivoni ER, Mascaro GM, White D, Whitney KM, Wang Z.

ASU-CAP, NASA Applied Sciences Program Kickoff-Meeting. Scottsdale, AZ


Simulating Hydrologic Responses in the Colorado River to Climate Change

October 2019

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER.

Geological Society of America 2019 Annual Meeting. Phoenix, AZ.


Exploring the Response of the Colorado River Basin to Future Climate

October 2019

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER.

32nd Annual Symposium of the Arizona Hydrological Society. Tuscon, AZ.


Modeling hydrologic extremes in the Colorado River Basin at various watershed scales*

February 2019

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER.

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. Phoenix, AZ.

*Awarded: First Place Student Poster Award


Modeling land surface hydrology sensitivity in the Colorado River Basin to historical climate variability

2017

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER.

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. New Orleans, LA.


MEGADAPT: Upland Hydrology Model

June 2017

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ET.

MEGADAPT All Hands Meeting. Mexico City, MX.


Spatial and temporal vulnerability to urban heat in Hermosillo, Sonora

June 2017

Co-authors: Robles-Morua A, Diaz-Caravantes R, Navarro J, Vivoni ER, Whitney KM, Montoya-Laos J.

School of Transborder Studies, ASU, Tempe, AZ.


Modeling land surface hydrology sensitivity in the Colorado River Basin and its urban areas to historical meteorological data

April 2017

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Bohn TJ, Vivoni ER.

Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network Annual All-Hands Meeting. New York, New York.


Role of biological soil crusts in hydrologic modeling of western high-desert ecosystems*

May 2015

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Duniway M, Bradford J, Reed SC, Belnap J.

3rd Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Memorial Student Poster Event. Tempe, AZ.

*Awarded: Honorable mention


Role of biological soil crusts in hydrologic modeling of western high-desert ecosystems

February 2015

Co-authors: Whitney KM, Vivoni ER, Duniway M, Bradford J, Reed SC, Belnap J.

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. Phoenix, AZ.