Fan Reinfelder, Ying

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  • Position: Professor, Associate Chair
  • Office: Wright Laboratories
  • Phone: (848) 445-3437
  • Email:

To Potential Students and Postdocs

If you are curious about the role of water in regulating global environmental change, physically, chemically or biologically, in the distant or recent geologic past, or in the present and the near future, please contact me and we'll chat. I am a hydrologist not interested in water per se, but in what water does to shape our landscape through the ages. Water connects all. Little happens without water. At least on this planet. 

Courses I Teach

  • Undergraduate: Hydrogeology (01:460:428:01), offered in the Fall in odd years (2017, 2019, ...)

  • Undergraduate: Hydrologic Processes (01:460:414:01; 11:670:414:01), offered every Spring

  • Undergrad/Grad: Major Events in Earth History (01:460:480; 16:460:580), one lecture on "The Devonian and the Rise of Plants"

  • Graduate: Groundwater Modeling (16:460:528:01), offered in the Fall in even years (2018, 2020, ...)

  • Graduate: Seminar in Hydrology (16:460:632), offered as needed    

Research Interests

  • Water-plant relations belowground, present, past, and future

  • Co-evolution of land plants and the terrestrial environment

  • Global water cycle change

Recorded Lectures

Members of Research Team


  • Caio Reis Costa Mattos, PhD student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Amazon species distribution, biodiversity and hydrologic niches

  • Aaron Potkay, PhD student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Plant hydraulics modeling for Earth System Models

  • Paul Romero, M.S. student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Estimating porosity, mineralogy, and pearmeability of geological formations using common geophysical logs


  • Justin Perket, Postdoctoral Associate (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - CUAHSI-NCAR collaboration on improving hydrology in Earth System Models

  • Zoe Kim, Princeton High School Student - Plant rooting depth on GoogleEarth (

  • Ross Alter, Ph.D. student (Atmospheric Sciences) - Land-atmosphere interaction, irrigation-precipitation link

  • Yadu Pokhrel, Postdoctoral Research Associate (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Amazon water cycle and climate, anthropogenic water cycle change

  • Haibin Li, Postdoctoral Research Associate (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Regional and global climatic-hydrologic modeling

  • Alex Fiore, M.S. student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Groundwater flow and transport in fractured rocks

  • Rami Abousleiman, undergraduate Senior Thesis (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Impact of pervious pavement on runoff reduction on RU campus

  • Deniz Kustu, Ph.D. student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Hydrologic-climatic impact of groundwater pumping for irrigation in the US High Plains

  • Neil Ramchandani, RU Aresty undergraduate scholar (Electrical Engineering) -Groundwater database, Micro-hydropower

  • Anthony DeAngelis, M.S. student (Atmospheric Sciences) - Effect of High Plains' irrigation on local and downwind precipitation

  • Richard Anyah, Postdoctoral Associate (Atmospheric Sciences) - Effect of groundwater on soil moisture, ET, and precipitation

  • Morgan Schaller, M.S. student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Importance of long-distance groundwater flow in river basin water budget

  • Michael Serfes, Ph.D. student (Earth and Planetary Sciences) - Arsenic occurrence, sources and mobilization in bedrock aquifers, Newark Basin (dissertation)

Publications (under Y. Fan)

Recent Publications (student/postdoc authors in bold font):

  • Jasechko, S., Perrone, D., Seybold, H., Fan, Y., Kirchner, J. (2020) Groundwater level observations in 250,000 coastal US wells reveal scope of potential seawater intrusion. Nat Commun 11, 3229.
  • Potkay, A, ten Veldhuis, M‐C, Fan, Y, Mattos, CRC, Ananyev, G, Dismukes, GC. (2020) Water and Vapor Transport in Algal‐Fungal Lichen: Modeling constrained by Laboratory Experiments, an application for Flavoparmelia caperata. Plant Cell Environ. 

  • Rouholahnejad Freund, E., Fan, Y., and Kirchner, J. W. (2020) Global assessment of how averaging over spatial heterogeneity in precipitation and potential evapotranspiration affects modeled evapotranspiration rates, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1927–1938,
  • Swenson, S. C., Clark, M., Fan, Y., Lawrence, D. M., & Perket, J. (2020) Representing Intra‐Hillslope Lateral Subsurface Flow in the Community Land Model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 11.

  • Fan, Y, Grant, G, Anderson, SP. (2019) Water within, moving through, and shaping the Earth's surface: Introducing a special issue on water in the critical zone. Hydrological Processes. 2019; 1– 6.

  • Fan, Y (2019) Are catchments leaky? WIREs Water, 2019;e1386.
  • Fan, Y, M Clark, D M Lawrence, S Swenson, L E Band, S L Brantley, P D Brooks, W E Dietrich, A Flores, G Grant, J W Kirchner, D S Mackay, J J McDonnell, P C D Milly, P L Sullivan, C Tague, H Ajami, N Chaney, A Hartmann, P Hazenberg, J McNamara, J Pelletier, J Perket, E Rouholahnejad-Freund, T Wagener, X Zeng, E Beighley, J Buzan, M Huang, B Livneh, B P Mohanty, B Nijssen, M Safeeq, C Shen, W van Verseveld, J Volk, D Yamazaki (2019) Hillslope Hydrology in Global Change Research and Earth System Modeling, Water Resources Research, AGU Centennial Volume on GRAND CHALLENGES IN THE EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCES, DOI: 10.1029/2018WR023903. 

  • Fan, Y., G. Miguez-Macho, E.G. Jobbágy, R.B. Jackson, C. Otero-Casal (2017) Hydrologic regulation of plant rooting depth, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol 114, No 40, 10572–10577doi: 10.1073/pnas.1712381114.  To download the observed rooting depth please go to TRY database on plants traits: To download the model simulated rooting depth, please go to

  • Kuppel, S., Y. Fan, E. G. Jobbagy (2017) Seasonal hydrologic buffer on continents: patterns, drivers and ecological benefits, Advances in Water Resources, doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.01.004.

  • Boyce, C. K., Fan, Y. and Zwieniecki, M. A. (2017), Did trees grow up to the light, up to the wind, or down to the water? How modern high productivity colors perception of early plant evolution. New Phytologist, doi:10.1111/nph.14387.

  • Fan Y. (2016) Groundwater – How much and how old? Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2609., or

  • Brooks, P. D., J. Chorover, Y. Fan, S. E. Godsey, R. M. Maxwell, J. P. McNamara, and C. Tague (2015), Hydrological partitioning in the critical zone: Recent advances and opportunities for developing transferable understanding of water cycle dynamics, Water Resources Research, 50yr Anniversary Special Issue, 51, doi:10.1002/2015WR017039.

  • Clark, M. P., Y. Fan, D. M. Lawrence, J. C. Adam, D. Bolster, D. J. Gochis, R. P. Hooper, M. Kumar, L. R. Leung, D. S. Mackay, R. M. Maxwell, C. Shen, S. C. Swenson, and X. Zeng (2015), Improving the representation of hydrologic processes in Earth System Models, Water Resources Research, 50yr Anniversary Special Issue, 51, doi:10.1002/2015WR017096.

  • Fan Y. (2015) Groundwater in the Earth's critical zone—Relevance to large-scale patterns and processes, Water Resources Research, 50yr Anniversary Special Issue, 51, 3052-3069, doi:10.1002/2015WR017037,

  • Alter RE, Y Fan, BR Lintner, CP Weaver (2015) Observational evidence that Great Plains irrigation has enhanced summer precipitation intensity and totals in the Midwestern US, Journal of Hydrometeorology, doi:

  • Fan Y, S Richard, RS Bristol, SE Peters, SE Ingebritsen, N Moosdorf, A Packman, T Gleeson, I Zaslavsky, S Peckham, L Murdoch, M Fienen, M Cardiff, D Tarboton, N Jones, R Hooper, J Arrigo, D Gochis, J Olson, and D Wolock (2014) DigitalCrust - A 4D Data System of Material Properties for Transforming Research on Crustal Fluid Flow. Special Issue on Crustal Permeability. Geofluids 15, 372-379, DOI: 10.1111/gfl.12114 (pdf)

  • Pokhrel, Y. N., Y. Fan, G. Miguez-Macho (2014) Potential hydrologic changes in the Amazon by the end of the 21st century and the groundwater buffer, Environmental Research Letters, 9, 084004 (pdf).

  • Krakauer, N. Y., H. Li, and Y. Fan (2014) Groundwater flow across spatial scales: importance for climate modeling, Environmental Research Letters, 9, 034003 (pdf).

  • Pokhrel, Y. N., Y. Fan, G. Miguez-Macho, P. J.-F. Yeh, and S.-C. Han (2013) The role of groundwater in the Amazon water cycle: 3. Influence on terrestrial water storage computations and comparison with GRACE, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50335 (pdf).

  • Fan, Y., H. Li, G. Miguez-Macho (2013) Global patterns of groundwater table depth, Science, 339 (6122): 940-943, doi:        10.1126/science.1229881,  See updated dataset (monthly and annual mean water table depth) and data download links at Science  website:

  • Taylor, R. G. et al. (2013) Groundwater and climate change, Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1744 (pdf)

  • Miguez-Macho, G., and Y. Fan (2012a) The role of the groundwater in the Amazon water cycle: 1. Influence on seasonal streamflow, flooding and wetlands, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 117, D15113, doi: 10.1029/2012JD017539, See model animation of the coevolution of flooding height and water table depth:

  • Miguez-Macho, G., and Y. Fan (2012b) The role of the groundwater in the Amazon water cycle: 2. Influence on seasonal soil moisture and evapotranspiration, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 117, D15114, doi: 10.1029/2012JD017540, See model animation of the coevolution of top-2m plant available soil moisture and water table depth:

  • Kreakie B.J., Y. Fan, T.H. Keitt (2012) Enhanced Migratory Waterfowl Distribution Modeling by Inclusion of Depth to Water Table Data. PLoS ONE 7(1):e30142. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030142 (pdf)

  • Fan, Y., and G. Miguez-Macho (2011) A simple hydrologic framework for simulating wetlands in climate and earth system models. Climate Dynamics, 37: 253-278, doi: 10.1007/s00382-010-0829-8 (pdf)

  • Kustu, M. D., Y. Fan, and M. Rodell (2011). Possible link between irrigation in the U.S. High Plains and increased summer streamflow in the Midwest, Water Resources Research, 47, W03522, doi:10.1029/2010WR010046. Special Issue on Steve Burges' Symposium,

  • Fan, Y., and G. Miguez-Macho (2010). Potential groundwater contribution to Amazon dry-season Evapotransporiration. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 14: 2039-2056. doi:10.5194/hess-14-2039-2010 (pdf)

  • Kustu, M. D., Y. Fan and A. Robock (2010) Large-scale water cycle perturbation from irrigation in the High Plains: A synthesis of observed streamflow changes. Journal of Hydrology 390: 222-224. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.06.045 (pdf)

  • DeAngelis, A., F. Dominguez, Y. Fan, A. Robock, M.D. Kustu, and D. Robinson (2010) Evidence of enhanced precipitation due to irrigation in the US High Plains. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 10.1029/2010JD013892,

  • Schaller, M., and Y. Fan (2009) River basins as groundwater exporters and importers: Implications for water cycle and climate modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 114, D04103, doi: 10.1029/2008 JD010636,

  • Lyon, S., F. et al. (2008) Coupling terrestrial and atmospheric water dynamics to improve prediction in a changing environment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89(9): 1275-1279, doi: 10.1175/2008BAMS2547.1 (pdf)

  • Miguez-Macho, G., H. Li, and Y. Fan (2008) Simulated water table and soil moisture climatology over North America. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 5: 663-672, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-89-5- 663 (pdf)

  • Anyah, R., C. P. Weaver, G. Miguez-Macho, Y. Fan, and A. Robock (2008) Incorporating water table dynamics in climate modeling: 3. Simulated groundwater influence on coupled land-atmosphere variability. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, 113, D07103, doi: 10.1029/2007JD009087,

  • Miguez-Macho, G., Y. Fan, C. P. Weaver, R. Walko, and A. Robock (2007) Incorporating water table dynamics in climate modeling, Part II: Formulation, validation, and simulations of soil moisture fields. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, doi:10.1029/2006JD008112,

  • Fan, Y., G. Miguez-Macho, C. P. Weaver, R. Walko, and A. Robock (2007) Incorporating water table dynamics in climate modeling, Part I: Water table observations and the equilibrium water table simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atm, doi:10.1029/2006JD008111,

  • Fan, Y., L. Toran, and R. Schlische (2007) Groundwater flow and groundwater-stream interaction in fractured and dipping sedimentary rocks: Insights from numerical models. Water Resources Research, VOL. 43, W01409, doi:10.1029/2006WR004864,

Publications Prior to Family Leave:

  • Moramarco, T., Y. Fan and R. L. Bras (1999) An analytical solution for channel routing with uniform lateral inflow. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 125(7): 707-713 (pdf)

  • Fan, Y. and R. L. Bras (1998) Analytical solutions to hillslope subsurface storm flow and saturation overland flow. Water Resources Research, 34(4): 921-927,

  • Fan, Y., C. J. Duffy and D. S. Oliver, Jr. (1997) Density-driven groundwater flow in closed desert basins: Field investigations and numerical experiments. Journal of Hydrology, 196: 139-184 (pdf)

  • Fan, Y., E. F. Wood, M. L. Baeck and J. A. Smith (1996) The fractional coverage of rainfall over a model grid: analyses of NEXRAD radar data over the Southern Plains. Water Resources Research, 32(9): 2787-2802,

  • Fan, Y. and R. L. Bras (1995) On the concept of a representative elementary area (REA) in catchment hydrology. Hydrological Processes,9:821-832 (pdf)

  • Fan, Y. and C. J. Duffy (1993) Monthly temperature and precipitation fields on a storm-facing mountain front: Statistical structure and empirical parameterization. Water Resources Research, 29(12): 4157-4166,

Service to the Scientific Community

  • NAS Committee on Future Water Resource Needs for the Nation: Water Science and Research at the U.S. Geological Survey (2017-2018)

  • NASA Earth Science Advisory Committee (2017 – present)

  • Panelist for NSF, NASA, EPA

  • Reviewer for NSF, NASA, USGS, and UK NERC proposals

  • Reviewer for Science, PNAS, Nature Geosciences, Nature Climate Change, Quaternary Science Reviews, New Phytologist, Journal of Quaternary Science, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Geophysical Research Letters, Environmental Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Climate Dynamics, Journal of Hydrometeorology, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Journal of Hydrology, Water Resources Research, Advances in Water Resources, Hydrological Processes, Ground Water, the Hydrogeology Journal, Geofluids, Hydrology and Earth System Science, Science of the Total Environment, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, POLARFORSCHUNG (Polar Research), Ecohydrology, WIREs-Water, etc., and USGS internal reviews

  • CUAHSI (Consortium of Universities for Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc.) Board of Directors (2011-2013)

  • Hydrologic Sciences Award Committee, AGU Hydrology Section (2011-2013)

  • Co-Editor: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, EGU Journal (2010-2017)

  • Associate Editor: Hydrologic Processes (2016-present)

  • Guest Co-Editor (with Suzanne Anderson and Gordon Grant) of Hydrologic Processes Special Issue on Water in the Critical Zone (2017-2019)

  • Contributor of Global Database of Maximum Plant Rooting Depth to TRY; See:                                                                                  Kattge, J., Bönisch, G., Diaz, S., Lavorel, S., Prentice, I. C., Leadley, P., ... Wirth, C. (2019). TRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access. Glob Change Biol.

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