Meredith Reitz


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, 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 different 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 river deltas; the effect of vegetation on the stability and shape of sand dunes; the controls on channel shape and migration in braided rivers; 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 MATLAB, Python (and ArcGIS/ ArcPy), 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 and water use aspects of the project

Dr. Reitz is also a PI on two active 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.

Dr. Reitz is also a co-I on a NASA-funded project to integrate dynamic remote sensing data sets into the USGS SPARROW water quality model, to make that model seasonally dynamic.



Reitz, M. and W. Kress (2017), Annual water budgets in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet. (In review)

Reitz, M., G.B. Senay, and W.E. Sanford (2017), Combining remote sensing and water-balance evapotranspiration estimates for the conterminous United States. Remote Sens. 20179(12), 1181; doi:10.3390/rs9121181.

Reitz, M., G.B. Senay, and W.E. Sanford (2017), Combined remote sensing and water-balance evapotranspiration estimates (SSEBop-WB) for the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Hawbaker, T., D.A. Howard, M. Reitz, L.J. Torak, and T.N. Williamson (2017), Science Use Cases for High Altitude Long Endurance Flights: Applications of Thermal Infrared Imaging, USGS internal White Paper.

Reitz, M., W.E. Sanford, G. Senay, and J. Cazenas (2017), Annual estimates of ET, recharge and quick-flow runoff for the contiguous US using empirical regression equations. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 53(4): 961-983.

Reitz, M., W.E. Sanford, G. Senay, and J. Cazenas (2017), Annual estimates of recharge, quick-flow runoff, and ET for the contiguous US using empirical regression equations, 2000-2013: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Evenson, E., S. Worland, J. Wilson, S. Archfield, P. Barlow, M. Dalton, K. Eng, W. Farmer, L. Hay, R. Hirsch, S. Jones, M. Maupin, H. Reeves, M. Reitz, and D. Wolock (2017), Estimation of site specific water withdrawals for public-water supplies in the U.S., USGS Topical Research Team internal White Paper.

Reitz, M., J.L. Pickering, S.L. Goodbred Jr., C. Paola, M. Steckler, L. Seeber, and S.H. Akhter (2015), Effects of tectonic deformation and sea level on river path selection: theory and application to the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Delta, JGR – Earth Surface.

Litwin, K.L., M. Reitz, and D.J. Jerolmack (2014), Generalized sorting profiles of alluvial fans, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/2014GL060991.

Reitz, M., D.J. Jerolmack, E. Lajeunesse, A. Limare, O. Devauchelle, and F. Métivier (2014), Diffusive evolution of experimental braided rivers, Physical Review E 89, 052809.

Pickering, J.L, S.L. Goodbred, M.D. Reitz, T.R. Hartzog, D.R. Mondal, and M.S. Hossain (2013), Late Quaternary sedimentary record and Holocene channel avulsions of the Jamuna and Old Brahmaputra River Valleys in the Upper Bengal Delta Plain, Geomorphology 227123-136.

Reitz, M. (2012). "Landscape-scale patterns resulting from thresholds, memory, and diffusion" (Doctoral dissertation). Dissertation available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3509398.

Jerolmack, D.J., R.C. Ewing, F. Falcini, R.L. Martin, C. Masteller, C. Phillips, M. Reitz, and I. Buynevich (2012), Internal boundary layer model for the evolution of desert dune fields, Nature Geoscience5, 206–209, doi:10.1038/NGEO1381.

Reitz, M., and D.J. Jerolmack (2012), Experimental alluvial fan evolution: channel dynamics, slope controls and shoreline growth. J. Geophys. Res.– Earth Surf. 117F02021.

Limare, A., M. Tal, M. Reitz, E. Lajeunesse, and F. Métivier (2011), Optical method for measuring bed topography and flow depth in an experimental flume, Solid Earth 2, 143-154, doi:10.5194/se-2-143-2011.

Jerolmack, D.J., M. Reitz, and R.L. Martin (2011), Sorting out abrasion in a gypsum dune field, J. Geophys. Res. 116, F02003, doi:10.1029/2010JF001821.

Reitz, M., D.J. Jerolmack, R.L. Martin, and R.C. Ewing (2010), Barchan-parabolic dune pattern transition from vegetation stability threshold, Geophysical Research Letters 37, doi: 10.1029/2010GL044957.

Reitz, M., D.J. Jerolmack, and J.B. Swenson (2010), Flooding and flow path selection on alluvial fans and deltas, Geophysical Research Letters 37, doi: 10.1029/2009GL041985.