Ruopu Li Dissertation Defense on Groundwater

Ruopu Li
Ruopu Li

Ruopu Li, a Ph.D. candidate in Natural Resources, will defend his dissertation, "Groundwater Pollution Risk Assessment under Scenarios of Climate and Land Use Change in the Northern Great Plains," at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in Hardin Hall 901.

Abstract: Modeling groundwater vulnerability to pollution is critical for implementing programs to protect groundwater quality. Groundwater vulnerability is strongly dependent on factors such as depth-to-water, recharge and land use conditions that may change in response to future changes in climate and/or socio-economic conditions. For example, global warming may lead to northward shifts in cropping patterns and changes in crop mixes (and use of farm chemicals) in the Northern Great Plains. Meanwhile, growing demands for biofuels are resulting in expanding corn acreage, and may lead to pressures to remove land from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or otherwise open lands that are currently not cropped to cultivation. Such changes may have significant implications for groundwater quality. In this research, a new modeling framework which employs four sub-models linked within a GIS environment is proposed and evaluated. The research focuses on North Dakota. The results of modeling under several different scenarios suggest that over the next 50 years areas having high vulnerability to pollution will expand northward and/or northwestward in eastern North Dakota. GIS-based models that account for future changes in climate and land use can help decision makers identify potential future threats to groundwater quality, and take early steps to protect this critical resource.

Supervisory Committee: James Merchant (co-advisor), Xun-Hong Chen (co-advisor), David Gosselin, Gene Guan, Robert Oglesby

For additional details please contact James Merchant,