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Global Rivers Group
@Virginia Tech

We use satellites, models, and fieldwork to study Earth's freshwater

Home: Overview

We're an academic research group in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. We are recruiting students and postdocs who are interested in using emerging technology to solve problems involving freshwater resources. 

What we do

We study inland waters using satellite data, fieldwork, and computer models. We seek to understand how climate change and land use are altering the global water cycle, in particular river and lake hydrology. With rapid advancements in sensor technology, computing power, and model sophistication, it is an exciting time to be studying freshwater at the global scale. 


Why we do it

Water is widely considered to be the world’s most vital natural resource, yet freshwater systems are being rapidly degraded by human activities. Our work is motivated by a desire to promote the conservation, management, and understanding of Earth's surface water resources. 

Home: Services


Updated July 22, 2024

July 22, 2024—David Go joins the Global Rivers Group as a PhD student. He will be working on understanding the temporal dynamics of the river-atmosphere interface. Welcome aboard, David! 

July 19, 2024—Yohtaro Kobayashi officially joins the Global Rivers Group as a PhD student. He will be working on modeling river light availability at the global scale. Welcome, Yohtaro! 

July 17, 2024—The Global Rivers Group run a day-long field trip and workshop to the New River for 48 high school students as part of the VT College of Science Explore Physical Sciences Camp program. 

June 25, 2024—Luisana and George run a workshop activity for 100 rising junior and senior high school students as part of the Black College Institute summer enrichment program. 

June 16-21, 2024—Katie, Molly, Hana, and George travel to Chapel Hill, NC to attend and present at the NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission Science Team Meeting. Go SWOT!

May 11, 2024—Ryan Riggs is hooded at Texas A&M for his PhD in Geography. Huge congratulations, Ryan! 

May 3, 2024—Carter Boyd successfully defends his MS thesis titled "Quantifying the Size Distribution of Rivers Across Spatial Scales". Great job on an exceptional presentation, Carter! 

Apr 25, 2024—Emily presents her work to the general public at the Science on Tap series. Her presentation is titled, "What the satellites see: Observing rivers from space". 

Apr 23, 2024—Hana and Luisana present their research at the AmeriView Earth observation education annual conference in Blacksburg, VA. 

Apr 17, 2024—George travels to Chapel Hill, NC to present his research at the UNC Department of Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences seminar series. Great to see old friends and mentors! 


Apr 12, 2024—Luisana, Yohtaro and George present their research at the 2024 New River Symposium in Radford, VA. 

Apr 5, 2024—Hana, Yohtaro, Luisana and George present their research at the Virginia Tech Office for GIS and Remote Sensing Research 2024 Symposium. No bagels to be had. 

Mar 22, 2024—Carter Boyd and Emily Ellis win Best Research Presentation at the 2024 Virginia Tech Geosciences Graduate Research Symposium. John Morgan wins best sculpture for his fish masterpiece. Congratulations, Carter, Emily and John!  

Mar 21, 2024—GRG grads Molly Stroud, Carter Boyd, Emily Ellis, Hana Thurman, and Luisana Rodriguez Sequeira give talks on their research projects at the 2024 VT Geosciences Graduate Student Research Symposium. Lab alum, John Morgan, also enters his large fish sculpture. Great representation by the GRG at GSRS, well done grads! 

Mar 11, 2024Emily Ellis publishes her first review paper! The paper is published in WIREs WATER and is titled, Bridging the divide between inland water quantity and quality with satellite remote sensing: An interdisciplinary review. This paper summarizes the current understanding, research trends, and potential steps forward for bridging chemical and physical hydrology. Congratulations, Emily! 

Feb 21, 2024—George receives a NASA Early Career Investigator Award (ECIP-ES) to investigate and quantify river and stream surface light availability at the global scale. 

Feb 16, 2024—George is selected for the 2024 Early Career Award for Applied Research by the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) for outstanding contributions in applied research related to water. 

Feb 9, 2024—George travels to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX to visit the Department of Earth Science and give a seminar talk titled, "Beyond the gauge: A global view of rivers and lakes".  

Feb 7, 2024—Ryan Riggs defends his dissertation titled "Improving Access To River Discharge Data Through Satellite Remote Sensing". Ryan's committee was impressed with his presentation and the overall quality of his dissertation. Ryan is graduating with a tenure track job offer from an R1 university, multiple postdoc offers including one from the USGS Mendenhall program. 

Feb 6, 2023—George travels to College Station, TX to attend Ryan Riggs' dissertation defense and meet with old friends and collaborators. Ryan is George's first PhD student. 

Dec 11, 2023—George, Katie, Emily, Molly, Carter and Yohtaro travel to San Francisco to attend, convene, and present their research at the 2023 AGU Fall Meeting:

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