Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
Distinguished Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of California, Irvine (UCI)
Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Engineering Hall 5400 (EH 5400), Irvine, CA 92697-2175
Office +1(949) 824-9643 | Fax +1(949) 824-2117 | Cell +1(651) 470-2038

In the News...

December 19, 2016 - Renowned Hydrologist Joins UCI to Lead Interdisciplinary Research Efforts

December 19, 2016 - Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, an expert in hydrology and water resources, recently joined the University of California, Irvine as a Distinguished Professor of civil and environmental engineering. After nearly three decades at the University of Minnesota, with her research laboratory perched atop a waterfall on the Mississippi River, she moved to a region suffering from a severe drought, but the native of Greece is not complaining.

“I love it here. The research environment is vibrant, the collegiality inspiring, and UCI is at the cusp of unprecedented academic and intellectual growth. And the Mediterranean climate is encoded in my skin. I feel completely at home!” she says. Read more of this interview here.

December 16, 2016 - Landsat Science: The Secret Lives of Migrating Rivers

December 16, 2016 - Today at AGU 2016, Dr. Jon Schwenk from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities presented a poster on his detective work into the secret lives of migrating rivers.

Read more of his work here.

October 4, 2016 - UCI Environmental Engineer Recognized with Hydrological Sciences Medal

October 4, 2016 - The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has awarded Efi Foufoula-Georgiou the Hydrologic Sciences Medal for “her pioneering contributions to the science of hydrometeorology and for visionary and sustained leadership in advancing interdisciplinary hydrologic research.”

A Distinguished Professor in civil and environmental engineering, Foufoula-Georgiou is considered one of the world’s leading hydrologists and water resources engineers. Her research focuses on hydrology and geomorphology, with special attention to scaling theories, multiscale dynamics and space-time modeling of precipitation and landforms. Her innovations have improved predictions of space-time variabilities, as well as the uncertainties of water, sediment and land processes in response to climate and human disturbance.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by the award, and I am particularly proud to see that it recognizes not only my own research but my strong belief and commitment in promoting and enabling interdisciplinary research,” said Foufoula-Georgiou. “I’m looking forward to an exciting journey at UCI.”

Foufoula-Georgiou joined the faculty at the Samueli School of Engineering this fall. She has served on many national and international advisory boards, including the National Academy of Sciences Water Science and Technology Board, the NSF Advisory Council for Geosciences, NASA Earth Sciences Subcommittee and EU advisory boards. She is currently a presidential appointee to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and president of American Geophysical Union’s Hydrology Section. She is a recipient of the John Dalton Medal of the European Geophysical Society, AGU’s Hydrological Sciences Award and the AMS Horton Lecturer award. She is a fellow of AGU and AMS and a member of the European Academy of Sciences.

The AMS Hydrologic Sciences Medal is granted annually to researchers who make outstanding contributions to scientific knowledge in hydrology, hydrometeorology and/or hydroclimatology, including interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere.

June 7, 2016 - World Oceans Day: Deltas critical to food production, fisheries health, storm protection

June 7, 2016 - Although deltas make up just 1 percent of the world's land, they're home to more than half a billion people and to fertile ecosystems such as mangroves and marshes. Deltas also serve as economic hotspots, supporting much of the world's fisheries, forest products, and agriculture, and are food baskets for many nations.

Human actions rob deltas of their lifeblood: water and sediment. On a global scale, people have diverted more than 40 percent of river discharges and 26 percent of river sediments into large reservoirs. Losses of wetlands to development, and the erosion that follows, further deplete deltas of sediment. Sea level rise accelerates the losses. Hurricanes are often the death knell, cutting new channels and washing away huge amounts of mud and sand.

To find out how deltas around the world are faring, Foufoula-Georgiou and her colleagues are studying the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta, a vast fan that stretches across Bangladesh into West Bengal, India. Their work is part of the NSF-supported Sustainable Deltas Project. Despite its size, the GBM Delta is foundering. The delta is sinking, with water covering its land surfaces four times faster than sea level is rising. Sediment would normally help build up the delta, but human land use upriver reduces the amount of sediment carried downstream. A further insult comes from shrimp farming, which modifies delta channels and results in yet more loss of land. Almost 150 million people live in the GBM region. Most of them rely on the delta's natural resources, so they, as well as the wildlife that depends on the delta's rich sediment, are literally losing ground. The scene is far from unusual. Much of the sediment has been cut off from deltas across Asia. India has seen a 50 percent reduction for the Brahmani Delta, a 74 percent reduction for the Mahanadi, and a 94 percent reduction for the Krishna... Read more here.

March 15, 2016 - PhD students Zeinab Takbiri and Jon Czuba win OSPAs for their presentations at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting

March 15, 2016 - Two PhD students won Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs) at the 2015 American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California for their presentations:

Zeinab Takbiri (Hydrology Section) - Microwave Signatures of Inundation Area

Jonathan Czuba (Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Focus Group) - Near-Channel Sediment Sources Now Dominate in Many Agricultural Landscapes: The Emergence of River-Network Models to Guide Watershed Management

OSPAs are awarded to promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, Master's and PhD students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. Each year, sections and focus groups recruit judges to assess and score student oral and poster presentations at meetings. Typically the top 3-5% of presenters in each section/focus group are awarded an OSPA. To view all winners see the OPSA page or view the announcement on pages 27-29 of the March 15, 2016 issue of EOS.

April 2015 - Research makes the cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface 120(4)

April 2015 - Research by Schwenk, J., S. Lanzoni, and E. Foufoula-Georgiou on The life of a meander bend: connecting shape and dynamics via analysis of a numerical model has made the cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface volume 120, issue 4. (Archived link)

October 2014 - Research makes the cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface 119(10)

October 2014 - Research by Gangodagamage, C., E. Foufoula-Georgiou, and P. Belmont on River basin organization around the mainstem: scale invariance in tributary branching and the incremental area function has made the cover of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface volume 119, issue 10. (Archived link)

Oct. 7, 2014 - Duluth News Tribune OpEd - A professor's view: Minnesota is a leader in facing climate-change challenges

Oct. 7, 2014 - It may seem strange to raise the implications of climate change brought about by global warming given that last winter was the coldest in several decades in much of the Eastern and Midwestern United States. But with so many recent stories focusing on the global ramifications of a hotter world, it is important we remind ourselves of what climate change really means to Minnesotans.

Increased levels of heat-trapping gases have increased the average global temperature, but this does not always equate to consistent warming at the local level. Climate change-induced shifts in the distribution of heat around the planet can lead to unusually wetter, cooler conditions in some areas yet drier, warmer conditions in others. As we already are experiencing, climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, heavy downpours like the ones Minnesota has received and floods. The results can be catastrophic: severe soil erosion, more frequent algae blooms in our lakes, and added costs to maintain transportation and infrastructure. With a vast majority of Minnesotans residing in urban areas with aging infrastructure, cities and suburbs particularly are vulnerable to climate change-related flooding and heat waves... Read more of this OpEd. (Archived link)

Sept. 25, 2014 - ICSU-endorsed initiative Sustainable Deltas 2015 launches in Rotterdam

Sept. 25, 2014 - A unique initiative endorsed by the International Council for Science - Sustainable Deltas 2015 - (SD2015) was launched at the "Deltas in Times of Climate Change II International Conference" in Rotterdam. The aim of the initiative is to focus attention and research on the value and vulnerability of deltas worldwide, and promote and enhance international and regional cooperation among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders... Read more about Sustainable Deltas 2015. (Archived link)

Dec. 12, 2012 - University of Minnesota to lead international virtual institute for study of climatic and human effects on Earth

Dec. 12, 2012 - The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it will award an $720,000 grant to the University of Minnesota to lead an international, multi-university virtual institute for the study of Earth-surface systems, with a special emphasis on watersheds and deltas.

Linked Institutions for Future Earth (LIFE) is a new collaborative network of leading international research institutions, facilities and field sites working together on research related to predicting and understanding the impacts of climatic and human stresses on the landscape. LIFE seeks to produce research that informs policymakers and practitioners, while cultivating effective researcher exchange and mentoring, and generating innovative international public engagement toward landscape sustainability... Read more of this article. (Archived link)

Aug. 30-31, 2012 - Deltas Initiative: Developing a Decadal Science Plan for Deltas

Aug. 30-31, 2012 - Deltas are unquestionably "hot spots" of change in the coastal environment, important for commerce and human habitation, but also vulnerable to human-induced changes from upstream water management, threatened from sea level rise from downstream, and affected by local resource exploration. The importance of deltas for economic development, food security, energy, and mineral exploration, among others, has been articulated in multiple publications, and deltas have been the subject of an increasing number of international meetings over the last decade. In 2011, a group of international researchers proposed to bring deltas to the forefront of public awareness and make them showcases of international collaboration on coastal sustainability by calling for an International Year of Deltas (IYDs) (Foufoula-Georgiou et al., 2011). This effort has been endorsed by several international scientific Unions and academic institutions (http://www.iyds-2013.org/).

Earlier this year, the Belmont Forum, an organization of the world's major and emerging funders of global environmental research, put out a call for proposalsto the international community to foster environmental sustainability research across disciplines and across national borders starting with two main focus themes: freshwater security and coastal vulnerability. A project on "DELTAS" was submitted by a group of researchers from 12 countries and 22 institutions and was invited to be developed to a full proposal which was submitted in December, 2012. In parallel, an effort to develop a Deltas Decadal Initiative (DDI) is currently under way.

The Delta Decadal Initiative (DDI), aims to catalyze the international research and stakeholder communities toward co-developing a framework of research and decision-making based on an integrated modeling approach of the interacting physical-socio-economic factors affecting delta "health". Specifically, a Science Plan to guide the DDI willspell out the integrative research, the data requirements, and the actionable products needed to inform management and decision making for protecting and sustaining the economic and environmental integrity of deltas around the world. Special emphasis will be given on developing: (a) integrated data sets and metrics to assess delta vulnerability; (b) frameworks for data collection and sharing; and (c) models that can be used for scenario building towards informing policy and management. Regional collaboration and engagement with stakeholders is a must and mechanisms for ensuring this will be proposed...

Read more about the Deltas Initiative.

May 9, 2011 - The Polytechnic Reporter - In remembrance of George Bugliarello

May 9, 2011 - Friends and colleagues share memories in remembrance of George Bugliarello. Read about their memories.