Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Patricia M. Parker (née Lawston)

(Assistant Research Scientist)


Org Code: 617

Mail Code: 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771



Assistant Research Scientist

UMD ESSIC and NASA GSFC Hydrological Sciences Lab - Greenbelt, MD

July 2020 - Present

Postdoctoral Associate

UMD ESSIC and NASA GSFC Hydrological Sciences Lab - Greenbelt, MD

January 2017 - June 2020

Teaching Assistant and Research Fellow

University of Delaware - Newark, DE

August 2010 - January 2017


Ph.D. Climatology, University of Delaware, 2017
Dissertation: Impacts of Irrigation on Land-Atmosphere Interactions in High-Resolution Model Simulations

M.S. Geography, University of Delaware, 2013
Thesis: Simulating the effects St. Louis urban center on mesoscale convective systems using WRF

B.S. Meteorology, Mathematics Minor, Millersville University, 2010

Professional Service

2023 - Present: Topic Editor, Geoscientific Model Development

2023 - 2024: Guest Editor, Special Issue, Agricultural Water Management

2022 - Present: Panel Member, Global Energy and Water Cycle Exchanges (GEWEX) Global Land Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) panel

2022 - Present: Co-Lead GEWEX GLASS/GHP Irrigation cross-cut project

2009 - Present: Member, American Meteorological Society

2012 - Present: Member, American Geophysical Union


2019 NASA Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Geophysics (HGB) Award for Scientific and Technical Support for "excellent scientific support of numerous soil moisture, irrigation, and modeling projects across the Lab and in serving as a role model for new interns and postdocs"



Lawston-Parker, P., J. A. Santanello, and N. W. Chaney. 2023. Investigating the Response of Land-Atmosphere Interactions and Feedbacks to Spatial Representation of Irrigation in a Coupled Modeling Framework Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 27 2787–2805 [10.5194/egusphere-2023-91]

McDermid, S., M. Nocco, P. Lawston-Parker, et al. J. Keune, Y. Pokhrel, M. Jain, J. Jägermeyr, L. Brocca, C. Massari, A. D. Jones, P. Vahmani, W. Thiery, Y. Yao, A. Bell, L. Chen, W. Dorigo, N. Hanasaki, S. Jasechko, M.-H. Lo, R. Mahmood, V. Mishra, N. D. Mueller, D. Niyogi, S. S. Rabin, L. Sloat, Y. Wada, L. Zappa, F. Chen, B. I. Cook, H. Kim, D. Lombardozzi, J. Polcher, D. Ryu, J. Santanello, Y. Satoh, S. Seneviratne, D. Singh, and T. Yokohata. 2023. Irrigation in the Earth system Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 4 (7): 435-453 [10.1038/s43017-023-00438-5]

Lawston-Parker, P., J. A. Santanello, and S. V. Kumar. 2021. Understanding the Impacts of Land Surface and PBL Observations on the Terrestrial and Atmospheric Legs of Land–Atmosphere Coupling Journal of Hydrometeorology 22 (9): 2241-2258 [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0263.1]

Rappin, E., R. Mahmood, U. Nair, et al. R. A. Pielke, W. Brown, S. Oncley, J. Wurman, K. Kosiba, A. Kaulfus, C. Phillips, E. Lachenmeier, J. Santanello, E. Kim, and P. Lawston-Parker. 2021. The Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102 (9): E1756-E1785 [10.1175/bams-d-20-0041.1]

Shepherd, J. M., A. M. Thomas, J. A. Santanello, P. Lawston-Parker, and J. Basara. 2021. Evidence of warm core structure maintenance over land: a case study analysis of cyclone Kelvin Environmental Research Communications 3 (4): 045004 [10.1088/2515-7620/abf39a]

Shellito, P. J., S. V. Kumar, J. A. Santanello, et al. P. Lawston-Parker, J. D. Bolten, M. H. Cosh, D. D. Bosch, C. D. Holifield Collins, S. Livingston, J. Prueger, M. Seyfried, and P. J. Starks. 2020. Assessing the Impact of Soil Layer Depth Specification on the Observability of Modeled Soil Moisture and Brightness Temperature Journal of Hydrometeorology 1-54 [10.1175/jhm-d-19-0280.1]

Yoo, J., J. A. Santanello, M. Shepherd, et al. S. Kumar, P. Lawston, and A. M. Thomas. 2020. Quantification of the Land Surface and Brown Ocean Influence on Tropical Cyclone Intensification over Land Journal of Hydrometeorology 21 (6): 1171-1192 [10.1175/jhm-d-19-0214.1]

Lawston, P. M., J. A. Santanello, B. Hanson, and K. R. Arsenault. 2020. Impacts of irrigation on summertime temperatures in the Pacific Northwest Earth Interactions 24 (1): 1-26 [10.1175/ei-d-19-0015.1]

Santanello, J. A., P. Lawston, S. Kumar, and E. Dennis. 2019. Understanding the Impacts of Soil Moisture Initial Conditions on NWP in the Context of Land–Atmosphere Coupling Journal of Hydrometeorology 20 (5): 793-819 [10.1175/jhm-d-18-0186.1]

Lawston, P. M., J. A. Santanello, and S. V. Kumar. 2017. Irrigation Signals Detected From SMAP Soil Moisture Retrievals Geophysical Research Letters 44 (23): 11,860-11,867 [10.1002/2017gl075733]

Lawston, P. M., J. A. Santanello, Jr., T. E. Franz, and M. Rodell. 2017. Assessment of Irrigation Physics in a Land Surface ModelingFramework using Non-Traditional and Human-Practice Datasets Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 2953-2966 [10.5194/hess-2017-51]

Rauscher, S. A., T. A. O’Brien, C. Piani, et al. E. Coppola, F. Giorgi, W. D. Collins, and P. M. Lawston. 2016. A multimodel intercomparison of resolution effects on precipitation: simulations and theory Climate Dynamics 47 (7-8): 2205-2218 [10.1007/s00382-015-2959-5]

Santanello, J. A., S. V. Kumar, C. D. Peters-Lidard, and P. M. Lawston. 2016. Impact of Soil Moisture Assimilation on Land Surface Model Spinup and Coupled Land-Atmosphere Prediction Journal of Hydrometeorology 17 517-540 [10.1175/jhm-d-15-0072.1]

Lawston, P. M., J. A. Santanello, B. F. Zaitchik, and M. Rodell. 2015. Impact of irrigation methods on land surface model spinup and initialization of WRF forecasts Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 1135-1154 [doi:10.1175/JHM-D-14-0203.1]

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Monitoring and Modeling of Irrigation for Improved Weather Prediction

September 23, 2022

Invited Public Lecture for the Ray Falconer Lecture Series (State University of New York at Albany)


When many farmers use irrigation over large areas, it can make the air cooler and more humid, sometimes even changing how clouds form and where rain falls. For this reason, it is important to 1) estimate where, when, and how much irrigation water is used for agriculture, and 2) use this and other information to improve weather models. This talk will describe recent work in which NASA satellite data and models have played an essential role in the monitoring and modeling of irrigation, and in doing so, have helped to advance our understanding of human water management impacts on the Earth system.

Modeling and Monitoring of Irrigation for Better Understanding of Land-Atmosphere Interactions in Agricultural Areas

October 30, 2019

Invited talk for the University of Maryland (UMD) Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) Fall Seminar Series