Predictions of changes in the water cycle—like precipitation and river runoff—are quite uncertain. Climate scientist and geochemist Daniel Enrique Ibarra uses present and past data from such disparate places as Asia, the Philippines, and North America to better understand how this water availability might change in a warming world.
Using both modern datasets and ancient, paleoclimate records, often with the help of LiDAR and other remote sensing tools, Ibarra asks questions like: how much wetter or drier was a region under warmer or colder conditions? How sensitive is a region’s water balance to temperature changes? What is the role of vegetation and changes in water delivery on terrestrial water availability? His research has already revealed how dramatically water resources have changed globally over the past thousands to millions of years.