National Research Council postdoctoral fellow Andrea Thorstensen joined the NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Division's Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications Team in September. Under the guidance of Rob Cifelli and Bob Zamora, Andrea's work focuses on incorporating various observations related to the hydrologic cycle into distributed hydrological models. This effort is largely geared toward uncertainty assessments of NOAA's newly operational National Water Model (NWM) and its research and development version, WRF-Hydro, with the goal of identifying possible model deficiencies and their underlying causes. The initial focus of this work will be on the Russian River and American River Basins in northern California, where there are existing observations from the Hydrometerology Testbed as well as USGS streamflow gauges. Andrea is also involved in a collaborative effort between PSD, NCAR, and the Bureau of Reclamation. This project aims to evaluate the forecast performance and value added by the NWM within the scope of water management at various forecast lead times (weeks to seasons).
In May of 2016, Andrea earned her PhD in civil engineering with a focus on hydrology from the University of California, Irvine. There she developed calibration techniques based on soil moisture observations (in situ and remotely sensed from satellites) as well as explored methods of soil moisture data assimilation for the National Weather Service's Hydrology Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model. In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, playing volleyball, fishing, and eating.