Lawrence Vulis

I am a PhD student in Efi Foufoula-Georgiou's group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California Irvine and a UC Laboratory Fees In-Residence Graduate Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory under the supervision of Joel Rowland. I am also co-advised by Alex Tejedor at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. My research interests are in the application of statistics and data science techniques to better understand the natural world, particularly leveraging the massive quantity of remote sensing data that has become available in recent years.

My PhD research focuses on how permafrost influences the morphology and hydrology of arctic deltas (ADs). ADs are generally characterized by flashier, snowmelt controlled streamflow regimes than their temperature counterparts, geomorphic inactivity through the winter, and abundant thermokarst lakes. Projected climate change will change streamflow regimes and thaw permafrost, but it is not yet clear how these changes will manifest themselves in complex deltaic environments. As ADs contain significant quantities of labile carbon and modulate how riverine freshwater, sediment, and nutrient fluxes reach the Arctic Ocean, these geomorphic changes will have broader implications. To understand the hydromorphological influence of permafrost on deltas, I have been leveraging the abundant Landsat imagery database coupled with graphic theoretic techniques to characterize lake and channel network patterns. So far the research has focused on studying summertime water cover variability and on characterizing climate influence on lake patterns, and has been published in Geophysical Research Letters. These latter results are being expanded through the use of statistical pattern analysis techniques to assess lake spatial distribution, and will be shortly submitted for review.

Recently, I have become interested in the quantitative classification of river delta shoreline structure. Classification of deltas by the shape of their shorelines dates back to at least the classic Galloway diagram. However these classification systems are often qualitative, and attempts to quantify differences in delta shoreline structure have not born out these differences. I am working on developing a novel quantification of shoreline structure using geometric mapping and multiscale spectral analysis techniques. The results of this work are expected to advance the quantitative classification of river deltas based on their morphology and geometry.

My prior research experience includes gridded snow depth estimation in Eurasia using non-parametric methods, linking El Nino-Southern Oscillation with watershed conditions in southeastern Arizona, stochastic simulation of precipitation for stormwater management, and assessment of alternative chemical disinfectants for wastewater disinfection in New York City water resource recovery facilities. See individual project pages for further detail.

About me: One of my favorite hobbies is reading; some of my favorite authors, in arbitrary order, include George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Brian Fagan, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carl Sagan, Howard Zinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, David Graeber, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and many more. I also enjoy hiking, camping, cooking , and history.

An important reminder on the pursuit of knowledge, "the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting" - Plutarch