University of Colorado at Boulder

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Noah Molotch

Surface Water and Snow Hydrology; Remote Sensing; Ecohydrology

Associate Professor of Geography 

Physical Geography
Fellow of INSTAAR
Faculty of Hydrologic Sciences
303-492-6151 INSTAAR RL1 213  |  GUGG 207  
Ph.D. The University of Arizona, 2004

Research Interests

My research and teaching interests are focused on the processes controlling hydrologic fluxes in mountainous regions and within the greater Earth system. Improved understanding of these processes is essential for sustainable management of natural resources and for making informed environmental policy decisions. My research projects utilize ground-based observations, remote sensing, and computational modeling to obtain comprehensive understanding of hydrological processes; in particular the distribution of snow and vegetation. Additional projects aim at developing techniques for scaling hydrological processes and for designing ground-based observation networks tailored for integration with remote sensing and modeling. Studies relating fluxes of water, carbon, and nitrogen are also a focus of my current projects - in particular the feedbacks between water availability and carbon cycling in montane forests.

Selected Publications

Perrot, D., N.P. Molotch, K.N. Musselman, E. Pugh. (2014). Modeling the effects of the Mountain Pine Beetle on snowmelt in a subalpine forest. Ecohydrology, 7(2), 226 – 241. doi:10.1002/eco.1329

Guan, B., N.P. Molotch, D.E. Waliser, E.J. Fetzer, and P.J. Neiman. (2013). The 2010/11 Snow Season in California’s Sierra Nevada: Role of Atmospheric Rivers and Modes of Large-scale Variability. Water Resources Research, 49, 6731–6743. doi:10.1002/wrcr.20537

Musselman, K.N., N.P. Molotch, S.A. Margulis, M. Lehning, D. Gustafson. (2012). Improved snowmelt simulations with a canopy model forced with photo-derived direct beam canopy transmissivity. Water Resources Research, 48, 10. doi:10.1029/2012WR012285

Musselman, K.N., N.P. Molotch, S.A. Margulis, P.B. Kirchner, R.C. Bales. (2012). Influence of canopy structure and direct beam solar irradiance on snowmelt rates in a mixed conifer forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, VOL. 161, Pgs. 46-56. DOI:10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.03.011

Trujillo, E., N.P. Molotch, M. Goulden, A. Kelly, R. C. Bales. (2012). Elevation-dependent influence of snow accumulation on forest greening. Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo1571

Publications updated November 2014

Labs & Facilities

KESDA Ken Erickson Spatial Data Analysis Lab

KESDA Lab is an instructional computer lab with advanced software and hardware used to teach technique (skills) courses in geography.

Recent Courses Include

Spring 2017  GEOG 1001 (4) Env Systems 1 - Climate and Vegetation

Spring 2017  GEOG 4321/5321 (4) Snow Hydrology

Graduate Students

terrestrial hydrology
Snow hydrology, Arctic and Mountain Environments
Snow and floods in mountain environments
mountain and snow hydrology, interaction between vegetation and snowmelt runoff, water resources
M.A. Alumni
Quantifying forest mortality with the remote sensing of snow
M.A. Alumni
Subalpine Snowpack-Climate Manipulation and Modeling Experiment at Niwot Ridge, CO and Valles Caldera National Preserve, NM
M.A. Alumni
Nitrate Export Response to Spatially Distributed Snowmelt in Alpine Catchments

More Info

For more information see Dr. Molotch's Mountain Hydrology Group web page.