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Karen Humes

Karen Humes



McClure Hall 323



Mailing Address

Department of Geography
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3021
Moscow, ID 83844-3021

Research Interests: Water/Energy nexus, particularly in food systems; Applications of remote sensing and GIS in hydrology and environmental science

  • Ph.D. Hydrology University of Arizona
  • M.S., Soil Science University of Arizona
  • B.S., Geophysics New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Dr. Humes has had the good fortune of having a diverse career both within and outside of academia. She has worked for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on space-based geodesy and spacecraft tracking, held a graduate fellowship at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in remote sensing, and served as a Postdoctral Research Assistant at the USDA/Agricultural Research Service Hydrology Lab in Beltsville, MD. Her early research involved field work in remote sensing of land surface characteristics that control land/atmosphere interactions. In this work, she participated in numerous interdisciplinary field campaigns in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, France and Niger.

In recent years, she has been privileged to work with many outstanding graduate students in the applications of remote sensing data (both lidar and multispectral data types) in a variety of topics – including characteristics of conifer forests, monitoring snowpack, and an emerging program in planning for renewable energy from wood based biofuels. She is interested in outreach in climate, energy and geographic education. She has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students in research and was awarded the 2011 Don Crawford award (UI-wide award) in Outstanding Graduate Student Mentoring. She became Chair of the Dept of Geography in July 2011.


  • PI and Project Manager on interdisciplinary grant:  Sustaining the Competitiveness of the Food Industry in Southern Idaho: Integrated Water, Energy, and Waste Management, $2,100,00. Idaho State Board of Education Higher Education Research Consortium, July 2018- June 2021.  (K. Humes, Co-Is include Jae Ryu (Soil and Water Systems, UI), Erik Coats (Civil and Environmental Engineering, UI), Armando McDonald (College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho) and Kevin Ferris (Biology, Boise State University) and Donna Delparte (Geosciences, Idaho State University).
  • The main purpose of the grant is to build capacity at Idaho universities to assist Idaho agricultural producers and processors in various aspects of sustainability in food production and processing, such as minimizing energy/water use, the development of interdisciplinary solutions to treatment of wastewater,resource recovery and the development of value-added byproducts. An important component of the project is an active Stakeholder Advisory Board comprised of representatives from water users’ groups, operational state agencies and private industry.


  • Measurements and Modeling of Coupled Water/Carbon Fluxes and Storage in Complex Terrain, NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement Grant, 2005-08, Leader of interdisciplinary team consisting of 7 faculty in three colleges. $1.3M, including funding and start-up for new strategic hire. This was one of five research teams that formed the statewide Idaho EPSCoR initiative (total of $4M statewide). Team leadership included oversight and management of Carbon Flux team plus coordination with other teams at three universities across the state.
  • Use of Integrated Lidar/Multispectral Data to Evaluate LAI Estimates over Conifer Forest Ecosystems from Operational Sensors, Idaho Space Grant Consortium, Research Initiation Grant, $30K, August 2008-July 2009.Improving Streamflow Forecasts in Snowmelt Dominated Basins, (Co-PI with Von Walden), Pacific Northwest Regional Collaboratory (Geospatial Consortium led by Pacific Northwest National Lab), funding from NASA to Pacific Northwest National Lab, $550K, 7/03-8/07

Education in energy use and climate change; new uses of remote sensing/GIS by operational agencies.

  • NASA/IceNet grant – (2011-2013) Co-I on grant to provide curriculum materials for high school and community college educators on climate change and impacts in northern Rocky mountain regions. My primary role was to write (together with Graduate Research Assistants) and present a curriculum module on measurements and trends in western U.S. snowpack, using data from USDA/Natural Resource Conservation Service Snotel network. Module presented to teachers in workshop, June 2012.
  • Idaho Geographic Alliance – with seed funding by National Geographic Society, the mission of the IGA is to advance and enhance Geographic Education in K-12 and informal settings.

  • Don Crawford Graduate Mentoring Award, 2011 – University-wide award (one per yr) given by College of Graduate Studies, University of Idaho


Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192