Sumant Nigam
Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award (Teaching & Research)
Project Title: Near-Term Predictions of Hydroclimate and Streamflow in the Brahmaputra Basin: Development of Modeling Infrastructure
Field of Study: Meteorology
Home Institution: University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Host Institution: Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh  
Grant Start Month: February, 2020
Duration of Grant: Six months

Sumant Nigam
Brief Bio:

Dr. Sumant Nigam is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic, and earth system science at the University of Maryland. His research interests include climate dynamics, atmospheric general circulation and climate teleconnections, ocean-atmosphere interaction in tropical and subpolar basins, Asian and American monsoons, regional hydroclimate variability and change including droughts and desertification, and transboundary water issues in South/Southeast Asian river basins. His current focus is unraveling the natural variability and secular change components of the climate record to advance understanding of the steep warming of the northern continents and loss of Arctic sea ice, and the seasonal prediction of South Asian summer monsoon rainfall.

Dr. Nigam chaired the Climate Variations and Change Committee of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Advisory Panel for NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory until 2018, and was a member of the Climate Research Committee and the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the U.S. National Academies from 2008 to 2012. Dr. Nigam is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He earned his MSc degree in physics from the five-year integrated science and engineering program at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur in 1978. Dr. Nigam received his PhD in geophysical fluid dynamics from Princeton University in 1984, and completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For his Fulbright-Nehru project, Dr. Nigam is conducting a hydroclimate assessment of the Brahmaputra basin. Space-based observations of the water cycle, especially in the challenging and under-observed mountainous terrain in the northeast, as well as in-situ precipitation data, are being analyzed to establish the seasonal and annual receipts of water in the Brahmaputra sub-basins lying within India and China. The basin water arrivals are being processed into the Brahmaputra streamflow using a hydrologic model. By estimating the volume of upstream diverted water, this assessment can provide an objective underpinning of efforts seeking resolution of transboundary water issues between India and China, in the context of the Brahmaputra.