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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: Applications of remote sensing and GIS in hydrology, environmental science, planning for renewable energy

  • 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.

(*indicates that first author was an M.S. or Ph.D. student for whom K. Humes served as major advisor during the research implementation and manuscript preparation)

  • Harshburger, B. J*., Walden, V. P., Humes, K. S., Moore, B. C., Blandford, T. R., & Rango, A. (2012). Generation of Ensemble Streamflow Forecasts Using an Enhanced Version of the Snowmelt Runoff Model1. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 48(4), 643–655. doi:10.1111/j.1752
  • Jensen, J.R.*, Humes, K.S., Hudak, A.T. and L.A. Vierling, 2011. Evaluation of the MODIS LAI product using independent lidar-derived LAI: a case study in mixed conifer forest, Remote Sensing of Environment, 115 (12), 3625-3639. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2011.08.02
  • Harshburger, B. J.*, Humes, K. S., Walden, V. P., Blandford, T. R., Moore, B. C. and Dezzani, R. J. (2010). Spatial interpolation of snow water equivalency using surface observations and remotely sensed images of snow-covered area. Hydrological Processes, Volume 24, Pages 1285–1295
  • Harshburger, B. J.*, Humes, K. S., Walden, V. P., Moore, B. C., Blandford, T. R. and Rango, A. (2010), Evaluation of Short-to-Medium Range Streamflow Forecasts Obtained Using an Enhanced Version of SRM. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 46: 603–617
  • Cook, S.P., K.S. Humes, R. Hruska, G. Fraley & C.J. Williams.  2010. Identifying subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) attacked by the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) using spectral measurements of the foliage. International Journal of Forestry Research. Vol. 2010, Article ID 498189, 8 pages; doi:10.1155/2010/498189
  • Jensen, J.R.*, Humes, K.S., Vierling, L.A., & Hudak, A.T. (2008). Discrete return lidar-based prediction of leaf area index in two conifer forests. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 3947-3957
  • Blandford, T.R.*, K.S. Humes, B.J. Harshburger, B.C. Moore, V.P. Walden, and H. Ye, 2008: Seasonal and Synoptic Variations in Near-Surface Air Temperature Lapse Rates in a Mountainous Basin. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 47, 249–261
  • Illston, B.G., J.B. Basara, D.K. Fisher, R. Elliott, C.A. Fiebrich, K.C. Crawford, K. Humes, and E. Hunt, 2008: Mesoscale Monitoring of Soil Moisture across a Statewide Network. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 25, 167–182.
  • Cook, S., K. Humes, R. Hruska, C. Williams & G. Fraley.  2008. Pre-visual detection of two conifer-infesting adelgids in North American Forests. In: Lee, D.C.; Beatty, J.; Shaw, C.G.; Pye, J.M.; Sands, Y. Forest Environmental Threats.
  • Humes, K.S., Hardy, Ray, Kustas, W.P., Prueger, J., Starks, P., 2004, High spatial resolution mapping of surface energy balance components with remotely sensed data, "Thermal Remote Sensing in Land Surface Processes", D.Quattrochi and J. Luval, editors.
  • Humes, K.S., R. Hardy, and W.P. Kustas, 2001, Spatial patterns in surface energy balance components derived from remotely sensed data, Professional Geographer , 52 (2), 272-288.
  • Humes, K. S., W. P. Kustas, M. S. Moran, W. D. Nichols and M. A. Weltz, 1994, Variability in emissivity and surface temperature over a sparsely vegetated surface, Water Resources Research, 30:1299-1310.

  • 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


Physical Address:
McClure Hall 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3021
Moscow, ID 83844-3021

Phone: 208-885-6216


Web: Department of Geography