Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Balaji Rajagopalan

Research Interests

My main research program is a diverse and interdisciplinary effort to enable sustainable water quantity and quality for the growing populations under increasing climate variability and change. This entails three interconnected themes: (i) Understanding the large-scale climate drivers of year-to-year and multidecadal variability and predictability of regional hydroclimatology and their extremes, (ii) Developing ensemble hydroclimate projection tools with large-scale climate information and, (iii) Coupling the projections with resources management and decision support system. In addition, I have keen interests in paleo and contemporary variability of Indian monsoon, big-data analysis and modeling techniques, water and wastewater quality, construction safety and building energy efficiency.

Current Research

  • Understanding and reconstructing the variability of Indian monsoon and hydrology and, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures during Holocene
  • Spatial and temporal variability of summer rainfall over southwestern U.S
  • Impact of droughts on response to drinking water quality mediated through watershed changes
  • Wastewater quality (nutrient) modeling using statistical learning techniques, exploring the potential for nutrient trading, centralized and decentralized systems
  • Lessons from the rise and fall of past societies in response to climate variations, for applications to contemporary natural resource management problems
  • Improving ensemble precipitation forecasts at subseasonal time scales for enhancing the skill of hydrologic forecasts
  • Modeling climate extremes under current and future climate variability at selected National Parks, to mitigate risk of park infrastructure
  • Space-time variability of Arctic sea-ice – understanding and predicting the various attributes


Figure 1. Correlation maps of Indian rainfall with moist static energy (MSE) and sea surface temperatures (SST). Full caption in DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060429

Figure 2. Observed, modeled, and forecasted standardized rainfall anomalies. Full caption in DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060429