Christina Cianfrani, associate professor of hydrology, received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, M.S. from Yale University, and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Vermont.
Her research focuses on watershed processes approached from an ecological and engineering perspective. Specifically, she explores the effects of urbanization on stream systems and conducts basic geomorphological research relating hydrologic stream characteristics with biotic integrity. To conduct these interdisciplinary research projects she partners with local and state agencies, research institutions, non-profit organizations, and private consultants.
Her teaching interests include watershed hydrology, stream ecology, sustainable water resources, stream restoration, and fluvial geomorphology.
Floods, droughts, and hurricanes have all been predicted to increase in response to climate change. How will these and other effects impact our access to freshwater? How will we adapt to these changing conditions? This class will cover a brief introduction to the science behind climate change predictions and look specifically at the impacts to the water cycle. We will also discuss how the ways in which we have changed the landscape affect our ability to respond to changes in water availability. Students will read and discuss primary literature, develop a research question and project, collect and interpret data (both in the field and the library), and learn the basic skills scientists use to analyze water-related issues.
This course is part of an integrated science learning experience combining microbiology, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and mathematical modeling using the new Hampshire College Kern Center, built to the Living Building Challenge Standard, as a case study. Students will meet twice a week to explore the science behind the systems of the living building in their specific discipline. Once a week all three classes will meet together to complete interdisciplinary projects, share expertise, and form a collaborative science learning community. Students will read and share primary literature, complete problem sets, and work collaboratively on projects. We will learn about the campus living building from the architects and design engineers, take field tours, and meet faculty across campus engaged with the project. Students who complete this course may choose to continue their work using the living building in NS280, Integrated Sciences II: Collaborative Design Projects, during the spring semester. Students enrolled in NS-132T: Water, Carbon, and Nutrient Flows, will focus on the inputs and outputs of water, carbon and nutrients from the living building using a systems approach. We will learn methods for measuring the quality and quantity of water and the nature of nutrient cycling throughout the building. Basic topics will include the hydrologic cycle, biogeochemical cycles, carbon footprint and offset analyses, greywater recycling, and stormwater reuse.
All life requires water to survive. Where do we get our water? Where does it go? Will there always be enough? How can we manage our water resources to ensure there is enough? What policies affect these decisions? This course explores these topics using a systems approach to gain an understanding of how our water resources are intimately tied with the surrounding ecosystem. Topics include the water cycle, hydrologic budgets, urban stormwater management and low impact development. Students will read and discuss primary literature, delineate watershed boundaries, compute water budgets (at the watershed level and for their own water use), and complete a group design project. Each group will develop a design for a stormwater best management practice to be located somewhere on the Hampshire campus. Designs will include: assessment of need for improved stormwater management, building layout/plan, and stormwater calculations. Groups will be required to present their final designs to the class.
Rivers and streams wind through the landscape moving water, sediment and other materials and provide habitat for a variety of organisms. In this class we will discuss the main processes that occur in rivers and the means for observing them. We will learn to interpret the morphology (shape) of rivers and fluvial landscapes. We will use both field measurements (i.e., get our feet wet in the stream) and computer models to analyze local river systems from both a hydrological and ecological perspective. Students will explore the primary literature, complete lab exercises, develop a stream project, and discuss the response of streams to natural and human induced environmental change. This course requires weekly field trips to a local stream. Field work includes hiking and wading in shallow water.
Associate Professor of Hydrology
Mail Code NS
Cole Science Center 102
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002