Researcher Spotlight – Chandramauli Awasthi

 

2018-19 Global Change Fellow


PhD Student, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Dr. Sankar Arumugam

Every year the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center funds a multi-disciplinary cohort of Global Change Fellows representing colleges across NC State University. Here are some highlights about 2018-19 Fellow, Chandramauli Awasthi, and the applied research he’s conducting.

What do you study?
I study hydrological extreme events like floods in the context of climate change scenarios across the US. There have been observed changes in intensity and frequency of extreme hydrological events which challenge our infrastructure design and management policies. I utilize relevant climatic data to develop computer models which can predict these changes.

What (or who) influenced you to go into this field of study?
I used to have frequent discourses with my friends during my bachelor’s on water related issues born out of climate change. Those discussions made me aware of the need to study climate change and its impact on hydrological events.

What is your favorite part of research that you get to do?
Visualizing the climate data at a continental scale and applying statistical techniques to extract knowledge from that always fascinates me. In a way, it gives me an opportunity to see micro and macro level changes in our climate.

What are some potential real-world applications of your research?
Future infrastructure design can no longer rely on old understanding of our climate. I am focusing on updating flood frequency curves considering climate change scenarios which would help in updating policies to lower the risk of floods on our future infrastructure.

What do you think is the most pressing issue related to global change?
I feel freshwater scarcity is the most pressing issue in the near future. Freshwater scarcity is expected to affect agriculture and household water demand severely at a global scale. Depleting groundwater around the globe and unpredictable extreme hydrological events are going to worsen the situation.

How does the SE CASC Global Change Fellows Program impact you and your work?
A multi-disciplinary understanding of the climate change impact is very much important to address this issue holistically. The Global Change Fellows Program exposed me to that environment which would help me in my research in the long run.

How would you describe your research to a 3rd grader?
I would tell them that I study why we are facing so many hurricanes every now and then and I forecast what kind of rainfall they may expect when they would be in their fifties.