Integrated Climate Research: Ecology, Water, and Weather (ICREWW)


The goal of this project is to address the main question: How do climate variables change over time and affect one another? Students will conduct research to address one or more of the following interrelated questions, including: 

  • What connections exist between streamflow, precipitation, temperature, and phenology data?
  • How has atmospheric warming impacted changes over time in different associated climatological variables?
  • How can integrated weather and hydrology data be used to develop high-resolution weather and streamflow forecasts?
  • How is the timing of events such as leaf-out, flowering, and fruit ripening changing?
  • Are trends and patterns consistent among species and geography?
  • Are the changes we are observing in phenology related to variations in precipitation and available moisture?/Is it possible to determine that precipitation/available moisture is a driver of phenological activity?

This project involves multiple sub-groups working together within the ICREWW VIP. Some students will work primarily on the ecological and phenological aspect, some will work on the environmental hydrology and water resources aspect, and some will work more on atmospheric weather and climate analysis aspects. All subgroups will interact with one another to identify the relationships across these interdisciplinary aspects related to climate change and the regional impacts in the Southwest US, and this could affect the direction of their research. 

Students involved in this VIP will get hands-on experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • using critical and creative thinking skills to drive the direction of research
  • using a variety of career-relevant software (e.g.. Microsoft Excel, Python)
  • organizing data from multiple sources
  • analyzing data using relevant and real-world mathematical concepts
  • visualizing atmospheric, hydrologic, and ecological data
  • working collaboratively
  • communicating results
  • Upper-division students and graduate students: mentoring up-and-coming group members

Issues Involved or Addressed

  • Climate Change Impacts 
  • Ecology and Phenology 
  • Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology
  • Environmental Hydrology and Water Resources
  • Computer Programming
  • Data Analysis & Statistics
  • Weather & Streamflow Forecasting

Methods and Tech

  • Downloading and Organizing Data (Microsoft Excel, etc.)
  • Computer Programming (Python, R, Unix, etc.)
  • Weather and Climate Modeling
  • Statistical Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Science Communication

Academic Majors of Interest

Open to all majors, with particular interest in the sciences and mathematics, including:

  • Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Hydrometeorology
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Geosciences
  • Mathematics and/or Statistics & Data Sciences
  • Environmental Science
  • Natural Resources
  • Computer Science
  • Geography

Preferred Interests and Preparation


  • Basic understanding of the hydrologic cycle
  • Basic understanding of ecology
  • Interest in the impacts of climate change, particularly on the Southwestern regions of North America
  • Preferred: Computer programming & Microsoft Excel experience
  • Preferred: Knowledge of basic statistics


  • Enjoys collaborative work
  • Curious about the natural world and how systems interact within the biosphere 
  • Independently motivated and inquisitive
  • Organized and punctual
  • Interested in leadership, helping, and mentoring others
  • Committed to communicating the social and environmental impacts of research to a variety of audiences

Application Process

To express interest in this team, please complete the VIP Interest Form and select "Integrated Climate Research: Ecology, Water, and Weather (ICREWW)"

Team Advisors

Martha Whitaker, PhD - Environmental Hydrology & Water Resources
Theresa Crimmins, PhD - Ecology & Phenology
Guo-Yue Niu, PhD - Hydrometereology
Christopher Castro, PhD and Hsin-I Chang, PhD - Weather & Climate