Skip To Main Content
Top view of big concrete dam
With increased environmental and human pressures on global water supplies, robust reservoir tracking is becoming essential to water management policies. | Image: Getty Images

Each year, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) selects a mid-career scientist as their Robert E. Horton Lecturer in Hydrology. The lectureship recognizes excellent scientists with research interests that intersect hydrology and meteorology and is meant to foster higher cooperation between the two fields.

Dr. Huilin Gao, a professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Texas A&M University, was selected for the honor this year. Gao’s career and research interests closely mirror the criteria of this lectureship. Her research on the remote sensing of reservoirs and hydrological modeling has made her one of the leading experts in the field over the last decade.

Gao’s lecture on deciphering reservoir dynamics will be presented at an appropriate AMS meeting or at the annual meeting in January 2024. With the increased reliance on reservoir water, gathering more accurate data is important.

Newer satellite remote sensing technologies allow for multiple data points (e.g., elevation, area, storage, evaporation volume/rate and others) to be collected over many more locations than with traditional methods. To address issues like climate change, increased evaporation and rising population demand, water management policies will need information to fill these knowledge gaps. Gao has published two papers on remote sensing of global lakes/reservoirs in the journal Nature Communications.

Having already earned the respect and high regard of her peers, this lectureship places Gao in the distinguished company of the many notable previous recipients.

“I feel truly honored and humbled to be listed after these giants in hydrology,” Gao said. “I feel incredibly lucky to receive this award.”

“Huilin Gao is a rising star in hydrology, civil and environmental engineering,” said Dr. Zachary Grasley, professor and department head of the civil and environmental engineering department. “This honor is well deserved. We look forward to her presentation and anticipate more success in her future.”

The AMS is dedicated to the advancement of atmospheric and related sciences to increase understanding of water, weather and climate science. Robert E. Horton (1875-1945) was a civil engineer and soil scientist with the United States Geological Survey credited with many important discoveries in flood generation, soil erosion and physical terrain runoff patterns.