Upmanu Lall                                                               

Alan & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering

Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics

Director, Columbia Water Center

Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate & Society

Electronic Mail:
Phone: +1 (212) 854-8905
FAX: +1 (212) 854-7081
Office: 840 Mudd
U.S. Mail Address:

500 West 120th Street

918 Mudd, Dept. of Earth & Environmental Eng.

Columbia University, MC 4711

New York, NY, 10027


Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, TX, 1981

M.S. in Civil Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, TX, 1980

B. Tech in Civil Engineering, I.I.T. Kanpur, India, 1976


Dr. Upmanu Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center and the Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering at Columbia University. He has broad interests in hydrology, climate dynamics, water resource systems analysis, risk management and sustainability. He is motivated by challenging questions at the intersection of these fields, especially where they have relevance to societal outcomes or to the advancement of science towards innovative application. His current research covers 3 major initiatives that are developed through the Columbia Water Center. The Global Water Sustainability Initiative is focused on an assessment of global water scarcity and risk. The Global Flood Initiative is motivated by the desire to predict and manage floods at a global scale recognizing their climate drivers, and supply chain impacts. America.s Water is driven by the goal of developing sustainable water management and infrastructure design paradigms for the 21st century recognizing the linkages between urban functioning, food, water, energy and climate. These programmatic initiatives are backed by research on systems level modeling of hydrology, climate, agronomy and economics. Dr. Lall has pioneered the application of techniques from (a) nonlinear dynamical systems, (b) nonparametric methods of function estimation and their application to spatio-temporal dynamical systems, (c) Hierarchical Bayesian models, (d) systems optimization and simulation and (e) the study of multi-scale climate variability and change as an integral component of hydrologic systems. He has published in journals that focus on hydrology, water resources, climate, physics, applied mathematics and statistics, development, policy and management science. He has been engaged in high level public and scientific discussion through the media, the World Economic Forum, and with governments, foundations, development banks, and corporations interested in sustainability. He has served on several national and international panels. He was one of the originators of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, and is currently the President of the Natural Hazards Focus Group of the American Geophysical Union.

Current Research Interests

Global Water Security

 Hydro-climate modeling

Time series analysis and forecasting

Bayes Networks for Process Modeling and Decision Making

Risk and reliability

 Water Resource Management using Climate Information


Current Research Projects


1.      Climate Predictability of Extreme Floods with  Y. Kushnir, A Robertson,J. Nakamura

2.      CCRUN:  Climate Change RISA in Urban Areas, C. Rosenzweig (PI) with U. Lall, P. Kinney, S. Someshwar & L. Goddard, R. Chen, and Y.  Kushnir

3.      Reconstructing Climate From Tree Ring Data A. Gelman (PI), with E. Cook and U. Lall

4.      Paleoclimate Shocks:Environmental Variability,Human Vulnerability, and Social Adaptation During The Last Millennium In The Greater Mekong Basin, Buckley, B., (PI); with Anchukaitis,K., Cook, B., Heikkila, T., Lall,U., Cook, E., Levy, M

5.      Improving rural water and livelihood outcomes in India, China, Africa, and Brazil,  with T. Heikkila, V. Modi, J. Sachs

6.      Sustainable Development of Water Resources in Ethiopia: Learning from doing in Koraro,  with P. Block



Undergraduate: Hydrology, Water Resources Engineering, Computations And Computer Analysis, Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Operations Research II, Systems Analysis For Civil Engineers, Water Project Analysis, Groundwater Hydrology; Earth Resources and the Environment; A Better Planet by Design


Graduate: Groundwater Hydrology, Statistics in Water Resources, Water Resource Systems Analysis, Optimization Of Large Systems, Applied Probability Theory, Statistical Decision Theory, Hydro-electric Power, Stochastic Hydrology, Groundwater Contaminant Transport, Groundwater Quantity and Quality Modeling, Spatial Hydrologic Analysis, Physical Hydrology, Low Frequency Climatic Variability, Environmental Statistics, Water Management & Development

Journal Publications:

You can find them here