Upmanu Lall

Upmanu Lall

Dr. Upmanu Lall is a leading expert on hydroclimatology, climate change adaptation, risk analysis and mitigation. His research has emphasized hydrology, water resource systems analysis, operations research and stochastic processes with applications to flood/drought risk and uncertainty assessment and the design and operation of water systems. He has pioneered the application of techniques from (a) nonlinear dynamical systems, (b) nonparametric methods of function estimation and their application to spatio-temporal dynamical systems, and (c) the study of multi-scale climate variability and change as an integral component of hydrologic systems. As new knowledge was created in these areas, he has focused on its application to water resources management through innovation in adaptive or dynamic risk management methods that can use information on the structure of climate for simulation or forecasting. Recently, he has become concerned with the issue of global and regional water sustainability, and the more general issue of modeling and managing planetary change due to coupled human and natural dynamics. He is developing technical and policy tools for the projection and management of environmental change as part of a quantitative approach to sustainability of earth systems.

Recent Posts

Flooding in Pakistan. "It is no secret that the poor in any country, and the poorer countries, are the most adversely affected by the present and future climate." Photo source: Think Progress

Climate Through A Different Lens: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainability

Technology has brought us low-cost global communication, and also enabled a global economy. It has also brought us closer and further from each other. We now know more about other cultures. We also see the differences, and sharpen our sense of inequities. Perhaps, this, rather than a control of greenhouse gases, needs to be the primary conversation.

by |November 16, 2015
Flood irrigation in India. More efficient use of water for agriculture is key to protecting diminshing water supplies. Photo: Jeremy Hinsdale

Water, Water Everywhere, But Nary a Drop to Drink

It is a unique challenge of our generation that many in the developing world have cellular phones and TVs, but lack reliable access to water. Odd, perhaps, given that water is marketed as essential for life, a human right, and heart rending pictures of women and children walking miles to fetch water are routinely flashed to tug at everyone’s heart strings.

by |March 22, 2012
Maldives Islands  Source: Travelzip

Global Population Growth and Water Scarcity Q&A

Russell Sticklor with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program in Washington, DC. recently contacted me requesting my thoughts on a number of issues for an article he is writing on global population growth and water scarcity for the magazine, Outdoor America. I thought some of the comments might be interesting to our blog readers.

by |August 4, 2010

Himalayan Glacier Melt: The Real Problem

Every day I hear scientists and media people talking about climate change in a way that is often sensational or misses the real challenges. This will be a series of blogs in which I will discuss a few of these cases. Lets start with:

The Himalayan Glacier Melt

by |June 14, 2010

Water Problems: No Prediction Needed

With Copenhagen heading for an apparent impasse, the world faces an uncertain and potentially dire climate future. Of particular concern is the inability to predict how rainfall across the globe may change in intensity, frequency and seasonality. If there are droughts in some places and floods in others, there will be direct impacts on agriculture, health, energy and natural ecosystems. It is urgent that we set an agenda to adapt to these prospects, even though the predictions are […]

by |December 14, 2009

Punjab: Less Water, More Money (Part 3)

In previous weeks, I began the story of declining groundwater tables in India. In the first post, I talked about the current system of subsidized energy, the need to change it, and the willingness of farmers to adapt to such changes. The second post talked about the possible benefits and methods of direct seeding for… read more

by |October 27, 2009

Punjab: Less Water, More Money (Part 2)

Last week, I began the story of declining groundwater tables in India. I talked about the current system of subsidized energy, the need to change it, and the willingness of farmers to adapt to such changes. Even before changing the irrigation in the crop’s lifecycle, however, an initial step that farmers can take starts with… read more

by |October 20, 2009

Punjab: Less Water, More Money (Part 1)

In an earlier blog, I highlighted the story of declining groundwater in many parts of India. This story is one of agricultural intensification and widespread groundwater pumping, facilitated by highly subsidized or free electricity. As the Government of India sought food security for the nation, it promoted the procurement of rice and wheat from the… read more

by |October 13, 2009

Punjab: A tale of prosperity and decline

The state of Punjab, located in the northwest part of the country, is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjab produces 20% of the nation’s wheat, 11% of its rice, and 11% of its cotton, from only 1.5% of its geographical area.  Punjab is in trouble, however; groundwater is rapidly decreasing. Water levels have dropped… read more

by |July 28, 2009