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Michelle Ann Walvoord

Research Hydrologist

Contact Info

Short Biography


Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech

M.S.  in Hydrology, New Mexico Tech

B.A.  in Geology, Hamilton College


Michelle Walvoord is a Lead Scientist and Research Advisor for Hydrology in the National Research Program of the USGS. Her areas of expertise include permafrost hydrology, unsaturated zone and groundwater hydrology, and non-isothermal, multiphase flow and transport modeling. She serves on the Science Advisory Board for the USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, the Permafrost Action Team for NSF's SEARCH project, and as an Associate Editor for Hydrogeology Journal and Water Resources Research. 

Research project information available at:

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My Science Topics

Science Topic
Water Resourcesground water
Water Resourcesground-water quality
Hydrologic Processesground-water flow
Hydrologic Processeshydrodynamics
Hydrologic Processeshydrology
Hydrologic Processesstreamflow
Hydrologic Processeswater cycle
Ecology and Environmentdeserts
Environmental Issuesdesertification
Environmental Issuesground-water quality
Environmental Issuesland use change
Environmental Issuessurface water quality
Techniques and Methodscomputational methods
Techniques and Methodsfield methods
Techniques and Methodsgeographic information systems (GIS)
Techniques and Methodsmathematical modeling
Techniques and Methodsmathematical simulation
Techniques and Methodsremote sensing
Techniques and Methodsstatistical analysis
Geographic Analysis and Mappinggeospatial analysis

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Cold Region Hydrology and Climate Change Impacts

The ultimate goal of this project is to improve understanding of climate-change impacts on the hydrology of cold regions with particular focus on the integral relation of frozen ground and routing of groundwater and surface water. Hydrologic changes impact vegetation, ground stability, and the distribution of lakes and wetlands. Changes in permafrost extent and spatial distribution affect the pathways and fluxes of surface and subsurface water, in turn, impacting aquatic chemical exports, soil moisture, vegetation, habitat, biodiversity, etc. Thus, permafrost and hydrology studies are key components in comprehensively addressing ecological responses to global change.

Hydrologic and hydrogeophysical studies in the Yukon River Basin are advancing our understanding of climate impacts. Progress is being made towards understanding permafrost and water flowpath response to changes in climate via novel approaches to groundwater flow and energy transport modeling. Because of the complex coupling between frozen ground, climate, and water flow, numerical models with appropriate capabilities are being developed. New understanding is generated via application of these modeling tools. In addition, airborne and ground-based geophysics and remote sensing efforts are being integrated to better characterize permafrost at multiple scales. Such information is crucial for the improvement of hydrologic models and their predictive capabilities with respect to a changing climate.

Contact Information

Michelle Ann Walvoord
W 6th Ave Kipling St
Lakewood, CO 80225
303-236-5034 - Fax
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