Hydrologist Margaret Zimmer wins NSF CAREER AwardMargaret Zimmer, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, has received a Faculty Ea...

Hydrologist Margaret Zimmer wins NSF CAREER AwardMargaret Zimmer, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, has received a Faculty Ea...Hydrologist Margaret Zimmer wins NSF CAREER Award
Margaret Zimmer, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support her research on the role of Earth’s subsurface in regulating the water cycle.

Zimmer’s Watershed Hydrology lab studies the pathways water takes through landscapes, especially the poorly understood subsurface movements of water through soil and bedrock. When rainfall soaks into the ground, it can replenish soil water, recharge groundwater, generate stream flow, and be taken up by plant roots, ultimately returning to the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration by plants. Zimmer’s group is interested in how the subsurface structure controls the partitioning of water into these different pathways.

“One of the big unknowns for predicting the effects of climate change on the water cycle is our poor understanding of how water is stored and moved in soil and bedrock,” she said. “Climate scientists are predicting more year-to-year variability in precipitation and more extreme weather events, and this has implications for the management of water resources.”