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Joel C. Rowland

Joel Rowland

Phone (505) 665-2871


  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Geoscience
  • Hydrology
  • Geology
  • Remote sensing
  • Image analysis
  • Climate modeling
  • Carbon fluxes
  • Climate, Ocean, and Sea Ice Modeling (COSIM) project
  • Science of Signatures - Remote and Standoff Sensing
  • Remote sensing
  • Image analysis


Research: The role of landsurface dynamics and hydrology in the transport, storage and cycling of sediment, water, and biogeochemical constituents with a focus on river and floodplains, permafrost landscapes, and coastal regions.

Ongoing research includes:

  • The role of permafrost in river bank erosion and particulate exchanges between rivers and floodplains
  • Floodplains as watershed-scale regulators of exchanges of water, sediment and carbon
  • Remote sensing analysis of landscape change and fluvial dynamics
  • Arctic delta morphology and dynamics and the linkage of terrestrial fluxes to the coastal ocean
  • Permafrost dominated hillslopes and the storage and flux of sediment and carbon from watersheds to the hydrosphere
  • Ecogeomorphic controls on coastal resilience and impacts of coastal change on infrastructure and national security


PhD, 2007, University of California, Berkeley, Earth & Planetary Science

MSc, 1994, University of Nevada, Reno, Hydrology & Hydrogeology

BA, 1992, Vassar College, Geology


LANL Positions

Scientist, EES-14, LANL, July, 2010 - present

Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-July, 2010, Los Alamos National Laboratory


Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

Geological Society of America



DOE Early Career Award 2014





Shelef, E., J. C. Rowland, C. J. Wilson, G. E. Hilley, U. Mishra, G. L. Altmann, and C.-L. Ping. 2017, Large uncertainty in permafrost carbon stocks due to hillslope soil deposits, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2017GL073823.

Rowland, J. C., E. Shelef, P. A. Pope, J. Muss, C. Gangodagamage, S. P. Brumby, and C. J. Wilson (2016), A morphology independent methodology for quantifying planview river change and characteristics from remotely sensed imagery, Remote Sensing of Environment, 184, 212-228.

Galloway, D. L., Erkens, G., Kuniansky, E. L., & Rowland, J. C. (2016). Preface: Land subsidence processes. Hydrogeology Journal, 24(3), 547-550.

Rowland, J.C. and Coon, E.T, 2016, From documentation to prediction: how remote sensing and mechanistic modeling are raising the bar for thermokarst research, Hydrogeology Journal, 24: 645. doi:10.1007/s10040-015-1331-5

Harp, D., et al. (2016). "Effect of soil property uncertainties on permafrost thaw projections: a calibration-constrained analysis." The Cryosphere 10(1): 341-358.

Fagherazzi, S., Edmonds, D.A., Nardin, W., Leonardi, N., Canestrelli, A., Falcini, F., Jerolmack, D. Mariotti, G., Rowland, J.C., and Slingerland, R.L., 2015, Dynamics of river mouth depostis: Reviews of Geophysics, 53, doi:10.1002/2014RG000451.

Pelletier, J.D., Murray, A.B, Pierce, J.L., Bierman, P.R., Breshears, D.D., Crosby, B.T., Ellis, M., Foufoula-Georgiou, E., Heimsath, A.M., houser, C., Lancaster, N., Marani, M., Merritts, D.J., Moore, L.J., Pederson, J.L., Poulos, M.J., Rittenour, T. M., Rowland, J.C., Ruggiero, P., Ward, D.J., Wickert, A.D., and Yager, E. M., 2015, Forecasting the response of Earth’s surface to future climatic and land use changes: A review of methods and research needs, Earth’s Future, 3, 220-251, doi:10.1002/2014EF000290.

Moody, D. I., Wilson, C. J., Rowland, J. C., & Altmann, G. L. (2015, June). Change detection in Arctic satellite imagery using clustering of sparse approximations (CoSA) over learned feature dictionaries. In SPIE Sensing Technology & Applications (pp. 94940W-94940W). International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Gangodagamage, C., Rowland, J.C., Hubbard, S.S., Brumby, S.P., Liljedhal, A.K., Wainwright, H., Liljedahl, A., Wilson, C.J., Altmann, G.L., Daffon, B., Peterson, J., Ulrich, C., Tweedie, C., and Wullschleger, S.D., (2014) Extrapolating active layer thickness measurements across Arctic polygonal terrain using LiDAR and NDVI data sets, Water Resources Research, 50, 6339-6357, doi:10.1002/2013WR014283.

Beighley, R. E., Eggert, K., Wilson, C. J., Rowland, J. C., and Lee, H., 2014, A hydrologic routing model suitable for climate scale simulations of arctic rivers: application to the Mackenzie River Basin: Hydrological Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10398.

Moody, D. I., Brumby, S. P., Rowland, J. C., & Altmann, G. L. (2014). Land cover classification in multispectral imagery using clustering of sparse approximations over learned feature dictionaries. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 8(1), 084793-084793.

Falcini, F., Piliouras, A., Garra, R., Guerin, A., Jerolmack, D. J., Rowland, J., and Paola, C., (2013), Hydrodynamic and suspended sediment transport controls on river mouth morphology: Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, p. 2013JF002831, DOI: 10.1002/2013JF002831.

Chen, M., Rowland, J.C., Wilson, C.J., Altmann, G.L., and Brumby, S.P. (2013), The importance of the natural variability of lake areas on the detection of permafrost degradation: a case study in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, Permafrost and Periglacial Processes. vol. 24, 224-240, DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1783.

Hubbard, S.S., Gangodagamage, C., Daffon, B., Wainwright, H., Peterson, J., Gusmeroli, A., Ulrich, C., Wu, Y., Wilson, C., Rowland, J., Tweedie, C., and Wullschleger, S.D., (2013), Quantifying and relating land-surface and subsurface variability in permafrost environments using LiDAR and surface geophysical datasets, Hydrogeology Journal, vol. 21, pp. 149-169, doi:10.1007/s10040-012-0939-y.

Skurikhin, A. N., Gangodagamage, C., Rowland, J. C., & Wilson, C. J. (2013). Arctic tundra ice-wedge landscape characterization by active contours without edges and structural analysis using high-resolution satellite imagery. Remote Sensing Letters, 4(11), 1077-1086.

Lewis, K.C., Zyvoloski, G.A., Travis, B., Wilson, C., and Rowland, J. (2012), Drainage subsidence associated with Arctic permafrost degradation. JGR-ES. doi:10.1029/2011JF002284.

Chen, M., Rowland, J.C., Wilson, C.J., Altmann, G.L., and Brumby, S.P. (2012), Temporal and spatial pattern of thermokarst lake area change at Yukon Flats, Alaska, Hydrological Processes.

Fildani, A., Hubbard, S.M., Covault, J.A., Maier, K.L., Romans, B.W., Traer, M., and Rowland, J.C. (2013) Erosion at inception of deep-sea channels, Marine and Petroleum Geology, vol. 41, pp. 48-61, doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.03.006.

Rowland, J.C. Travis, B.J., and Wilson, C.J. (2011), The role of advective heat transport in talik development beneath lakes and ponds in discontinuous permafrost, Geophys. Res. Lett., vol. 38, L17504, doi:10.1029/2011GL048497.

Rowland et al., (2010) Arctic landscapes in transition: Responses to thawing permafrost, EOS, vol. 91(26), 229-236.

Rowland, J.C., Dietrich W.E., and Stacey, M.E. (2010) Morphodynamics of subaqueous levee formation: insights into river mouth morphologies arising from experiments, JGR-Earth Surface, doi:10.1029/2010JF001684.

Rowland, J.C., Hilley, G.E., and Fildani, A., (2010), A test of initiation of submarine leveed channels by deposition alone. Journal of Sedimentary Research, vol. 80, 710-727

Rowland, J.C., Stacey M.T., and Dietrich, W.E., (2009): Turbulent characteristics of a shallow wall-bounded plane jet: experimental implications for river mouth hydrodynamics. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 627, pp. 423-449.

Rowland, J.C., Dietrich, W.E., Day, G., and Parker, G., (2009), Formation and maintenance of single-thread tie channels entering floodplain lakes: Observations from three diverse river systems.  JGR-Earth Surface, 114, F02013, doi:10.1029/2008JF001073.

Manga, M., and Rowland, J.C., (2009), Response of Alum Rock springs to the October 30, 2007 Alum Rock earthquake and implications for the origin of increased discharge after earthquakes. Geofluids, vol 9(3), 237-250.

Day, G., Dietrich, W.E., Rowland, J.C., and Marshall, A., 2009, The rapid spread of mine-derived sediment across the Middle Fly River floodplain, in The Fly River Papua New Guinea: Environmental Studies in an Impacted Tropical River System, edited by B. Bolton, pp. 113 – 152.

Day, G., Dietrich, W.E., Rowland, J.C., and Marshall, A., 2008, The depositional web on the floodplain of the Fly River, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface., 113, F01S02, doi:10.1029/2006JF000622.

Rowland, J.C., Manga, M., and Rose, T.P., 2008. The influence of poorly interconnected fault zone flow paths on spring geochemistry. Geofluids. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-8123.2008.00208.x.

Rowland, J.C. and Dietrich, W.E., 2006. The Evolution of a Tie Channel. River Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics: RCEM 2005, Proceedings of the 4th IAHR Symposium on River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics, G. Parker and M. Garcia (eds.), vol. 2: 725-736.

Rowland, J.C., Lepper, K., Dietrich, W.E., and Wilson, C., 2005. Tie channel sedimentation rates, oxbow formation age, and channel migration rate from Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) analysis of floodplain deposits. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 30(9): 1161-1179. DOI:10.1002/esp.1268.