Published: April 2, 2021
Colloquium flyer with meeting time and photo of snow covered mountains

Dr. Keith N. Musselman
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)
University of Colorado Boulder

April 2nd, 2021, 12PM MDT

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Meeting ID: 916 2530 8762
Passcode: 717776


Most of the snow water resources that feed North America’s large rivers originate from forested land. Forest canopies greatly affect the snow on the ground. Forest cover intercepts snowfall that subsequently sublimates back to the atmosphere – a water resource that is never realized. At the same time, forest canopy shelters snow from wind and shades solar radiation, facilitating a persistent provision of meltwater late into the spring. In this talk, I present both empirical data and models to review how forest structure impacts snow and the critical consequences of climate change and forest structure degradation on the hydrology, meteorology and ecology of forests. The challenges and possibilities to inform adaptive response by forest management practitioners and the needs for robust, community-based predictive models are discussed.


Dr. Keith Musselman is a research associate at INSTAAR. He is a hydrologist who conducts research on land-water-atmosphere interactions including snow, runoff production, forest hydrology, and remote sensing. He has 18 years of fieldwork and numerical modeling experience across western North America. His work has been focused on the assessment of climate change and land cover impacts on freshwater availability, streamflow, and flood risk across a spectrum of scale. Keith holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Vermont, an M.S. in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from UCLA. As a postdoc, he worked in Alberta, Canada, on the topics of forest hydrology and land cover change. Since 2015, his research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and most recently at the University of Colorado Boulder has helped to advance the capability of hydrologic models to simulate cold region processes. He is the PI on a Navigating the New Arctic project to assess climate impacts on Indigenous communities in Alaska and the Yukon using co-production. Keith has authored over 25 publications including recent high-profile papers on snowmelt and flood risk in current and future climates.