Julia Nicholson L&S Sciences
Time Series Analysis of Groundwater in the Sierra Nevada
Groundwater is essential to ecosystems in Sierra Nevada meadows. Flora and fauna depend on groundwater cycles for a reliable source of water. Climate change is expected to disrupt groundwater supply, so understanding precisely how groundwater responds to temperature change, and how groundwater affects surrounding flora is an integral part of protecting meadow ecosystems in the face of climate change. This summer, I will develop a mathematical model to analyze time series of meadow groundwater, in order to study the relationship between groundwater and the ecosystems it fuels. I will study what local factors influence how groundwater levels respond to temperature, and how vegetation responds to varying groundwater. I have the support of a graduate student, Jen Natalie, who collected this groundwater and greenness data, as well as Professor Albert Ruhi, who taught me all I know about time series analysis. As a mathematics major who is passionate about climate change, this research is an intersection of my analytic skills and my love for the environment!