Yadu Pokhrel

Yadu Pokhrel

Yadu Pokhrel

Associate Professor


Recent Research

  • Large-scale (global to regional) hydrological modeling considering human activities and climate change
  • Irrigation and groundwater sustainability
  • Impacts of irrigation on regional/global climate; feedback and interactions
  • Droughts and water sustainability in the American Southwest
  • Use of remote sensing data (e.g., GRACE, SMAP) in hydrologic modeling
  • Food-Energy-Water Nexus
  • Hydrological, ecological, and social impacts of hydropower dams
  • Sustainable hydropower development in the Amazon and Mekong River basins


Research Interests

Dr. Pokhrel’s research focuses on improving the understanding of the changes in global/regional water cycle in response to the combined effects of human activities and climate change. In particular, the changes in various components of the hydrological cycle, as caused directly by human activities such as reservoir operation, land use change, irrigation, and groundwater pumping, constitute the foundation of his research interest. Dr. Pokhrel’s past work involved the representing these human factors into global/regional hydrologic, climate, and Earth system models; he has also worked on the integration and assimilation of various in-situ and satellite-based data (e.g., GRACE, SMAP) into these models. His current research efforts are focused on using these modelling tools and satellite data to assess changing hydrologic systems globally and in specific regions including the central and southwestern US, Amazon River basin in south America, and Mekong River basin in southeast Asia. The emphasis of his projects is on the sustainability of surface and/or groundwater resources and agricultural systems under climate change and growing influence from water management to meet rising food-energy-water demands. Dr. Pokhrel’s research is funded primarily by NSF and NASA. He is a recipient of the CAREER Award from the NSF, and numerous other research and teaching awards including the “MSU Teacher/Scholar Award” and the “Withrow Distinguished Scholar Award”. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Hydrology, Water Resources Research, and Scientific Reports (Nature).

NSF Early CAREER Award (2018)
MSU Teacher/Scholar Award (2020)
Withrow Distinguished Scholar Award (2019)
MSU Lilly Teaching Fellow (2021)
MSU University Communications Fellow (2020)
MSU Academy for Global Engagement Fellow (2016)
2018 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Geophysical Research Letters (2018).
Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate Change Research (DISCCRS) VIII Symposium Scholar Award (2012)
Outstanding Paper Award: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, December (2011)
Ph.D., Civil Engineering, 2011, the University of Tokyo, Japan
Pokhrel, Y.; Felfelani, F.; Satoh, Y.; Boulange, J.; Burek, P.; Gädeke, A.; Gerten, D.; Gosling, S.N.; Grillakis, M.; Gudmundsson, L. Global terrestrial water storage and drought severity under climate change. Nature Climate Change 2021, 11, 226-233.
Chaudhari, S.; Brown, E.; Quispe-Abad, R.; Moran, E.; Muller, N.; Pokhrel, Y. In-stream turbines for rethinking hydropower development in the amazon basin. Nature Sustainability 2021.
Boulange, J.; Hanasaki, N.; Yamazaki, D.; Pokhrel, Y. Role of dams in reducing global flood exposure under climate change. Nature Communications 2021, 12, 1-7.
Gudmundsson, L.; Co-authors, Pokhrel, Y., and Co-authors. Globally observed trends in mean and extreme river flow attributed to climate change. Science 2021, 371, 1159-1162.
Felfelani, F.; Lawrence, D.M.; Pokhrel, Y. Representing inter‐cell lateral groundwater flow and aquifer pumping in the community land model. Water Resources Research 2021, 56, 2020WR027531.
Shin, S.; Pokhrel, Y.; Yamazaki, D.; Huang, X.; Torbick, N.; Qi, J.; Pattanakiat, S.; Ngo‐Duc, T.; Nguyen, T.D. High resolution modeling of river‐floodplain‐reservoir inundation dynamics in the mekong river basin. Water Resources Research 2020, 56, e2019WR026449.
Veldkamp, T.; Wada, Y.; Aerts, J.; Döll, P.; Gosling, S.N.; Liu, J.; Masaki, Y.; Oki, T.; Ostberg, S.; Pokhrel, Y. Water scarcity hotspots travel downstream due to human interventions in the 20th and 21st century. Nature communications 2017, 8(1), 1-12.