EAS Seminar Series -- Ricardo Sanchez



2146 Snee Hall


Tracing Water Sources and Fluxes in a Dynamic Tropical Environment: From Observations to Modeling


Tropical regions cover approximately 36% of the Earth’s landmass. These regions are home to 40% of the world’s population, which is projected to increase to over 50% by 2030 under a remarkable climate variability scenario often exacerbated by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and other climate teleconnections. In the tropics, ecohydrological conditions are typically influenced by complex land-ocean-atmosphere interactions that produce dynamic cycling of mass and energy. In this talk, I will present the results from nearly a decade of concerted and continuous tracer monitoring across Costa Rica, including key insights learned, main methodological advances and limitations (both in experimental designs and data analysis), potential data gaps, and future research opportunities with a humid tropical perspective. The uniqueness of the geographic location of Costa Rica within the mountainous Central America Isthmus, receiving moisture inputs from the Caribbean Sea (windward) and the Pacific Ocean (complex leeward topography), and experiencing strong ENSO events, poses a clear advantage for the use of tracer variations to underpin key drivers in ecohydrological responses. Sequentially, this talk will cover tracer applications, including moisture transport, rainfall generation, and groundwater/surface connectivity.


Dr. Ricardo Sánchez-Murillo is a tracer hydrologist interested in a) tropical cyclones and paleoclimate; b) key drivers controlling water stable isotope variations in tropical landscapes of Mesoamerica, the Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico regions; and c) groundwater and surface water connectivity. Before joining the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas-Arlington, I served as the coordinator of the Stable Isotopes Research Group and Water Resources Management Laboratory at the National University of Costa Rica, where I obtained (2018) the World Academy of Sciences award for the advancement of tracer hydrology in the Central America region. Dr. Sánchez-Murillo is a NASEM/Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellow.


•       Ph.D. Water Resources (Isotope Hydrology), May 2014, University of Idaho, USA.

•       M.Sc. Water Resources (Hydrochemical Modeling), December 2010, University of Idaho, USA.

•       BS. Environmental Chemistry, September 2007, National University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica.