Christa Kelleher

Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences

Research and Teaching Interests

I am a computational hydrologist primarily interested in how models can be used as abstractions of the world around us to predict both quality and quantity of physical hydrologic processes.  I’m particularly intrigued by both where (in the landscape) and when (under what climatic conditions) models of hydrologic processes succeed and fail, and how we define success and failure for watershed modeling applications. My research primarily relies on computational simulations of models ranging from simple, conceptual representations to fully distributed and physically based frameworks to interrogate the relationships between water quality and quantity, and how this varies across different landscapes.

Broadly, I am also interested in defining how we as hydrologists use models and how we can improve upon this towards a number of different research-based and applied questions. My work also seeks to understand how field data can inform models, and vice versa.  Beyond hydrology, I am particularly interested in scientific visualization, and how scientists can more effectively communicate their work through graphs, maps, and figures.


Water and Our Environment (205)

Physical Hydrology (EAR 400/600 and CIE 400/600)

Groundwater/Surface Water Modeling (EAR 665)


Sam Caldwell

Crystal Burgess


Workstations utilizing Matlab, ArcGIS, and several different hydrologic modeling platforms

Selected Publications

Christa Kelleher, Thorsten Wagener, and Brian McGlynn, Model-based analysis of the influence of catchment properties on hydrologic partitioning across five mountain headwater subcatchments, Water Resources Research, 51, 4109–4136, 2015.

Keith A. Sawicz, Christa Kelleher, Thorsten Wagener, Peter Troch, Murugesu Sivapalan, and Gustavo Carrillo, Characterizing hydrologic change through catchment classification, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18, 273–285, 2014.

Christa Kelleher, Thorsten Wagener, Michael N. Gooseff, Brian McGlynn, Kevin McGuire, and Lucy Marshall, Investigating controls on the thermal sensitivity of Pennsylvania streams, Hydrological Processes, 26, 771–785, 2012.

Christa Kelleher, Thorsten Wagener, Ten guidelines for effective data visualization in scientific publications, Environmental Modelling & Software, 26(6), 822–827, 2011.