Meredith M Reitz, PhD


Dr. Meredith Reitz received a B.S. in Physics from Arizona State, with minors in Math, Astronomy, Political Science, and English. She completed a PhD in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, where her advisor, Prof. Douglas Jerolmack, was a geomorphologist in the Earth and Environmental Science department. She then received a postdoctoral fellowship to work at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for two years. She has been with the USGS in Reston since August 2014, and works using remote sensing and ground-based data to estimate water cycle quantities of interest across the US.

Dr. Reitz’s work has generally focused on understanding the physical processes that drive dynamics of water and landscapes. Topics she has pursued have included methods for constraining remotely sensed evapotranspiration using ground-based data sources; the process and timescale of river channel movements on alluvial fans and braided rivers; the effect of vegetation on the stability and shape of sand dunes; and the interaction between river and tectonic systems. She has used a variety of methods in her research, including running physical experiments, analyzing time series images, topography, and remote sensing data with scripts written in Python (and ArcGIS/ ArcPy), MATLAB, and ImageJ, proposing new analytical treatments, and writing numerical models. 


Current work

In her current research, Dr. Reitz is working toward estimating evapotranspiration, recharge, and runoff rates across the contiguous U.S., combining various methods and remote sensing as well as ground-based data sources.

She is a part of the team working on the Mississippi Alluvial Plain groundwater availability study. The project aims to improve our understanding the dynamics of groundwater availability in the water-stressed agricultural region of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Dr. Reitz’s work will further the water budget aspect of the project.

Dr. Reitz is also a PI on two Powell Center synthesis projects. The first one aims to better understand the utility of GRACE data (from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment satellites) for remotely measuring water storage change, by bringing together GRACE data developers with researchers working on regional and national-scale groundwater modeling and field monitoring in a synthesis project. The second one aims to better understand the impacts of anthropogenic influence on global river basins, using remotely sensed and other data to develop a framework to better quantify the impacts of land use changes on ET and the water cycle.