Department of Earth Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences

Gene-Hua Crystal Ng




Assistant Professor
PhD, 2008, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Group website:

Research Interests

I'm interested in how different aspects affecting the hydrologic cycle – including the atmosphere, plants, soil, microbial activity, and geochemistry – interact with each other.  Understanding the links between these elements helps us explain how the environment will respond to changing conditions, including impacts of climate change, land use, and contamination.  I use computer models to describe dynamic connections at the land surface, in the unsaturated zone, and in groundwater aquifers.  My work also focuses on statistical methods that merge models with data (data assimilation) to provide more reliable and informative insights than is possible with either models or data alone.  

My work has included: investigating soil, crop, and climate controls on groundwater recharge in semi-arid areas of the High Plains; ecohydrological modeling of vegetation vulnerability and resilience in the Mojave Desert; assessing data assimilation methods for chaotic models of the atmosphere; and describing chemical, mineral, microbial, and transport processes that affect groundwater quality near Bemidji, MN and on Cape Cod, MA.  My ongoing research combines integrated hydrological modeling and field observations to tackle problems in water resources, ecological sustainability, and biogeochemical cycling; I am interested in arid to temperate settings, under both natural and human-impacted conditions. 

I am currently seeking motivated and curious graduate students and post-docs to join my group – please contact me if you are interested!

Courses Taught:

  • General Hydrogeology
  • Hydrogeology Field Camp
  • Fluid Mechanics in Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Hydrolgoci Modeling
  • Fluid Earth Dynamics


Selected Publications:

1.     Ng, G.-H.C., B.A. Bekins, I. Cozzarelli, M.J. Baedecker, P.C. Bennett, R.T. Amos (2014), A mass balance approach to investigating geochemical controls on secondary water quality impacts at a Crude Oil Spill Site near Bemidji, MN, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 164, doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2014.04.006.

2.     Ng, G.-H. C., D. Bedford, and D. Miller (2014), Development of a mechanistic model and data assimilation framework for assessing desert ecohydrology, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1002/2014WR015281.

3.     Ng, G.-H. C., D. McLaughlin, D. Entekhabi, and A. Ahanin (2011), The role of model dynamics in ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) performance for chaotic systems, Tellus A, 63(5), doi: 1600-0870.2011.00539.

4.     Ng, G.-H. C., D. McLaughlin, D. Entekhabi, and B. R. Scanlon (2010), Probabilistic Analysis of the Effects of Climate Change on Groundwater Recharge, Water Resources Research, 46, W07502, doi:10.1029/2009WR007831.

5.     Ng, G.-H. C., D. McLaughlin, D. Entekhabi, and B. Scanlon (2009), Using data assimilation to identify diffuse recharge mechanisms from chemical and physical data in the unsaturated zone, Water Resources Research, 45, W09409, doi:10.1029/2009WR007831.

6.     Y. Zhou, D. McLaughlin, D. Entekhabi, and G. C. Ng (2008), An ensemble multiscale filter for large nonlinear data assimilation problems, Monthly Weather Review, 136, 678-698.