Christa Kelleher

Christa Kelleher

Assistant Professor

Civil & Environmental Engineering


  • Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
  • B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lafayette College

Research Interests:

  • Watershed and Landscape Hydrology
  • System Responses to Climate and Land Use Change
  • Water Quality and Quantity
  • Environmental Model Diagnostics and Uncertainty
  • Scientific Visualization

Current Research:

Dr. Christa Kelleher studies the relationship between landscape context (in terms of geology, vegetation, soils, and climate) and hydrologic behavior across multiple scales. Her work uses hydrologic models to understand how hydrologic systems function and how water quality and quantity may be altered under future scenarios of climate or land use change. Broadly, Dr. Kelleher’s work also aims to improve how scientists and engineers utilize models, to improve how models may be carefully applied to a range of different problems. Beyond hydrology, Dr. Kelleher is particularly interested in scientific visualization, and how scientists can more effectively communicate their work through graphs, maps, and figures.

Teaching Interests:

  • Physical Hydrology
  • Environmental Modeling
  • Multivariate Statistics for Environmental Datasets
  • Scientific Visualization


  • Invited presenter, American Geophsyical Union, 2015
  • Outstanding reviewer award, Environmental Modelling and Software, 2015
  • Outstanding reviewer award, Water Resources Research, 2014
  • Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Graduate Fellowship, 2010
  • Pathfinder Graduate Fellowship, 2010

Recent Publications:

J. L. A. Knapp, C. Kelleher (2020). A perspective on the future of transient storage modeling: Let’s stop chasing our tails. Water Resources Research, 56, e2019WR026257.

L. Condon, K. Markovich, C. Kelleher, J. J. McDonnell, G. Ferguson, J. Mcintosh (2020). Where is the bottom of a watershed? Water Resources Research, 56, e2019WR026010.

C. Kelleher, H. Golden, S. Burkholder, W. Shuster, Urban sponges: vacant lands impart hydrological benefits across city landscapes. Nature Communications, 11, 1563.

C. Kelleher, C. & L. McPhillips, Exploring the application of topographic indices in urban areas as indicators of pluvial flooding locations. Hydrological Processes. 1– 15.

C. Kelleher, A. Ward, J. L. A. Knapp, P. J. Blaen, M. J. Kurz, J. D. Drummond, et al. (2019). Exploring tracer information and model framework trade‐offs to improve estimation of stream transient storage processes. Water Resources Research, 55, 3481-3501.

S. Caldwell, C. Kelleher, E. Baker, L. Lautz (2019), Thermal Infrared Imagery via Unoccupied Aerial Vehicle Informs Simulations and Spatially-Distributed Assessments of Stream Temperature, Science of the Total Environment, accepted 29 Dec 2018.