Kelly J. Elder
Supervisory Research Hyrologist
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
- Watershed hydrology in natural, disturbed, and managed systems
- The central focus of my research is quantifying water balance in natural, disturbed, and managed ecosystems. Basic hydrological abstractions such as precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff are still not well understood across spatial and temporal scales. Important processes operate across hillslope and continental scales and over times steps from minutes to centuries. Fire, invasives, and other natural disturbances affect watershed processes in sometimes predictable, but poorly quantified ways. Management of basins also affects processes that control water quantity.
- Management of watershed processes, water balance of a subalpine forest systems, and consequences of bark beetle outbreak and management on watershed processes
- Long-term hydrological recovery of clear-cuts in a subalpine forest
- Consequences of beetle-induced tree mortality on basin runoff
- Consequences of post-beetle salvage operations on hillslope hydrology
- Recommendations to management for post-beetle infestation treatments in watersheds
- Snow hydrology and mountain climatology
- Remote sensing of cold land processes
- Methods for space-borne retrieval of snow water equivalence and other cold land processes.
- Retrieval of snowpack properties using airborne Ku-band radar.
Developed instrumentation for measuring snowpack properties. Developed methods for modeling the distribution of snow cover and water equivalence in alpine and subalpine basins. Collaborated in efforts to improve the ability to recover snowpack properties from airborne remote sensing of the Earth's surface using radar.
Why This Research is Important
Water is the one substance, above all others, that sustains life. A supply of clean water helps insure survival for humans and ecosystems. Increasing demand from existing sources suggests that we need better methods of predicting supply. Climate variability and change increase uncertainty in water supply and availability. Most of the water we use in mid-latitude regions comes from melting winter snowpacks in the subalpine zone. Understanding hydrological process in the subalpine zone will increase our ability to predict and manage water resources effectively.
Timber harvest has been shown to produce more runoff from subalpine basins when sound management is used. Long-term data from the Fraser Experimental Forest is allowing us to quantify the effects of clear-cuts a half century after harvest and informs management decisions across the west. The mountain pine beetle infestation of lodgepole pine forests will affect water yield and our management response to the attack will also affect watershed processes. Studies are underway to detect and quantify changes in components of the water balance directly and indirectly linked to pine beetle induced tree mortality.
- University of Colorado, BA Physical Geopraphy, 1985
- University of California, Santa Barbara, MA Physical Geography Hydrology, 1988
- University of California, Santa Barbara, Ph.D. Physical Geography Hydrology Statistics, 1995
Featured Publications & Products
- Dutra, Emanuel; Balsamo, Gianpaolo; Viterbo, Pedro; Miranda, Pedro M. A.; Beljaars, Anton; Schar, Christoph; Elder, Kelly. 2010. An improved snow scheme for the ECMWF land surface model: Description and offline validation.
- Essery, Richard; Rutter, Nick; Pomeroy, John; Baxter, Robert; Stahli, Manfred; Gustafsson, David; Barr, Alan; Bartlett, Paul; Elder, Kelly. 2009. SNOWMIP2: An evaluation of forest snow process simulations.
- Elder, Kelly; Cline, Don; Goodbody, Angus; Houser, Paul; Liston, Glen E.; Mahrt, Larry; Rutter, Nick. 2009. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Ground-based and near-surface meteorological observations.
- Elder, Kelly; Cline, Don; Liston, Glen E.; Armstrong, Richard. 2009. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Field measurements of snowpack properties and soil moisture.
- Cline, Don; Yueh, Simon; Chapman, Bruce; Stankov, Boba; Gasiewski, Al; Masters, Dallas; Elder, Kelly; Kelly, Richard; Painter, Thomas H.; Miller, Steve; Katzberg, Steve; Mahrt, Larry. 2009. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Airborne remote sensing.
Publications & Products
- Creed, Irena F.; Spargo, Adam T.; Jones, Julia A.; Buttle, Jim M.; Adams, Mary B.; Beall, Fred D.; Booth, Eric G.; Campbell, John L.; Clow, Dave; Elder, Kelly; Green, Mark B.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Miniat, Chelcy; Ramlal, Patricia; Saha, Amartya; Sebestyen, Stephen; Spittlehouse, Dave; Sterling, Shannon; Williams, Mark W.; Winkler, Rita; Yao, Huaxia. 2014. Changing forest water yields in response to climate warming: results from long-term experimental watershed sites across North America.
- Hubbard, Rob; Elder, Kelly; Rhoades, Chuck; Hays, Polly; Sims, Bruce. 2014. Small bugs with big impacts: Ecosystem and watershed-level responses to the MPB epidemic [Chapter 7].
- Hubbard, Robert M.; Rhoades, Charles C.; Elder, Kelly; Negron, Jose. 2013. Changes in transpiration and foliage growth in lodgepole pine trees following mountain pine beetle attack and mechanical girdling.
- Moore, David J. P.; Trahan, Nicole A.; Wilkes, Phil; Quaife, Tristan; Stephens, Britton B.; Elder, Kelly; Desai, Ankur R.; Negron, Jose; Monson, Russell K. 2013. Persistent reduced ecosystem respiration after insect disturbance in high elevation forests.
- Vose, James M.; Ford, Chelcy R.; Laseter, Stephanie; Dymond, Salli; Sun, Ge; Adams, Mary Beth; Sebestyen, Stephen; Campbell, John; Luce, Charlie; Amatya, Devendra; Elder, Kelly; Heartsill Scalley, Tamara. 2012. Can forest watershed management mitigate climate change effects on water resources.
- Vose, James M.; Ford, Chelcy R.; Laseter, Stephanie; Dymond, Salli; Sun, GE; Adams, Mary Beth; Sebestyen, Stephen; Campbell, John; Luce, Charles; Amatya, Devendra; Elder, Kelly; Heartsill-Scalley, Tamara. 2012. Can forest watershed management mitigate climate change impacts on water resources?.
- Jones, Julia A.; Creed, Irena F.; Hatcher, Kendra L.; Warren, Robert J.; Adams, Mary Beth; Benson, Melinda H.; Boose, Emery; Brown, Warren A.; Campbell, John L.; Covich, Alan; Clow, David W.; Dahm, Clifford N.; Elder, Kelly; Ford, Chelcy R.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Henshaw, Donald L; Larson, Kelli L.; Miles, Evan S.; Miles, Kathleen M.; Sebestyen, Stephen D.; Spargo, Adam T.; Stone, Asa B.; Vose, James M.; Williams, Mark W. 2012. Ecosystem processes and human influences regulate streamflow response to climate change at long-term ecological research sites.
- Rhoades, Chuck; Chambers, Carl; Elder, Kelly; Pierson, Derek; Starr, Banning. 2012. Nutrient and carbon retention in riparian and hillslope forests after mountain pine beetle infestation and timber harvesting in Colorado (Abstract).
- Lisle, Thomas E.; Adams, Mary Beth; Reid, Leslie M.; Elder, Kelly. 2010. Hydrologic influences of forest vegetation in a changing world: Learning from Forest Service experimental forests, ranges, and watersheds.
- Rhoades, C.; Elder, K.; Greene, E. 2010. The influence of an extensive dust event on snow chemistry in the southern Rocky Mountains.
- Yueh, Simon H.; Dinardo, Steve J.; Akgiray, Ahmed; West, Richard; Cline, Donald W.; Elder, Kelly. 2009. Airborn Ku-band polarimetric radar remote sensing of terrestrial snow cover.
- Rutter, Nick; Essery, Richard; Pomeroy, John; Altimir, Nuria; Andreadis, Kostas; Baker, Ian; Barr, Alan; Bartlett, Paul; Boone, Aaron; Deng, Huiping; Douville, Herve; Dutra, Emanuel; Elder, Kelly; others, . 2009. Evaluation of forest snow processes models (SnowMKIP2).
- Deems, Jeffrey S.; Fassnacht, Steven R.; Elder, Kelly J. 2008. Interannual consistency in fractal snow depth patterns at two Colorado mountain sites.
- Liston, Glen E.; Hiemstra, Christopher A.; Elder, Kelly; Cline, Donald W. 2008. Mesocell study area snow distributions for the Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX).
- Liston, Glen E.; Birkenheuer, Daniel L.; Hiemstra, Christopher A.; Cline, Donald W.; Elder, Kelly. 2008. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Atmospheric analyses datasets.
- Hardy, Janet; Davis, Robert; Koh, Yeohoon; Cline, Don; Elder, Kelly; Armstrong, Richard; Marshall, Hans-Peter; Painter, Thomas; Saint-Martin, Gilles Castres; DeRoo, Roger; Sarabandi, Kamal; Graf, Tobias; Koike, Toshio; McDonald, Kyle. 2008. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Local scale observation site.
- Davis, Robert E.; Painter, Thomas H.; Cline, Don; Armstrong, Richard; Haran, Terry; McDonald, Kyle; Forster, Rick; Elder, Kelly. 2008. NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX 2002/03): Spaceborne remote sensing.
- Trujillo, Ernesto; Ramirez, Jorge A.; Elder, Kelly J. 2007. Topographic, meteorologic, and canopy controls on the scaling characteristics of the spatial distribution of snow depth fields.
- Liston, Glen E.; Elder, Kelly. 2006. A meteorological distribution system for high-resolution terrestrial modeling (MicroMet).
- Elder, Kelly; Dwire, Kate; Hubbard, Robert; Rhoades, Charles; Ryan, Sandra; Young, Mike; Porth, Laurie; Dixon, Mark; Goodbody, Angue. 2006. Second interagency conference on research in the watersheds.
- Hubbard, Robert M.; Ryan, Michael G.; Elder, Kelly; Rhoades, Charles C. 2005. Seasonal patterns in soil surface CO2 flux under snow cover in 50 and 300 year old subalpine forests.