Benjamin Zaitchik

Research and Professional Interests

Benjamin Zaitchik’s research is directed at understanding, managing, and coping with climatic and hydrologic variability. Understanding variability requires examination of the natural processes that drive climate and surface change. Managing variability relates to our ability to control anthropogenic influences on climate and hydrology at the local, regional, and global scales. Coping with variability includes improved forecast systems and methods of risk assessment. In each of these areas of research he employs a combination of observation-both in situ and remotely sensed-and numerical modeling techniques.

Selected Publications:

  • Zaitchik BF, M Rodell, and F Olivera (2010) Evaluation of the Global Land Data Assimilation System using global river discharge data and a Source-to-Sink routing scheme. Water Resources Research, in press.
  • Zaitchik BF and M Rodell (2009) Forward-looking assimilation of MODIS-derived Snow Covered Area into a Land Surface Model. Journal of Hydrometeorology 10(1): 130-148.
  • Evans JP and BF Zaitchik (2008) modeling the large scale water balance impact of different irrigation systems. Water Resources Research 44, W08448, doi:10.1029/2007WR006671.
  • Zaitchik BF, M Rodell, and RH Reichle (2008) Assimilation of GRACE terrestrial water storage data into a land surface model. Journal of Hydrometeorology 9:535-548.
  • Zaitchik BF, JP Evans, and RB Smith (2007) Regional impact of an elevated heat source: the Zagros Plateau of Iran. Journal of Climate 20(16): 4133-4146.
  • Zaitchik BF, JP Evans, RA Geerken, and RB Smith (2007) Climate and vegetation in the Middle East: inter-annual variability and drought feedbacks. Journal of Climate 20(15): 3924-3941.
  • Hole F and BF Zaitchik (2007) Policies, plans, practices, and prospects: irrigation in northeastern Syria. Land Degradation and Development 18:DOI:10.1002/ldr.772.
  • Zaitchik BF, AK Macalady, LR Bonneau, and RB Smith (2006) Europe’s 2003 heatwave: a satellite view of impacts and land-atmosphere feedbacks. International Journal of Climatology 26:743-769.
  • Geerken R, B Zaitchik, and JP Evans (2005) Classifying rangeland vegetation type and coverage from NDVI time series using Fourier Filtered Cycle Similarity. International Journal of Remote Sensing 26:5535-5554.
  • Zaitchik BF, J Evans, and RB Smith (2005) MODIS-derived boundary conditions for MM5: application to irrigated agriculture in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin. Monthly Weather Review 133(6):1727-1743.
  • Zaitchik BF, HM van Es, and PJ Sullivan (2003) modeling slope stability in Honduras: parameter sensitivity and scale of aggregation. Soil Science Society of America Journal 267:268-278.
  • Zaitchik BF and HM van Es (2003) Applying a GIS slope stability model to site-specific landslide prevention in Honduras. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 58(1):45-53.
  • Zaitchik BF, LG LeRoux, and EA Kellogg (2000) Development of Male Flowers in Zizania aquatica (North American Wild-Rice; Gramineae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 161(3):345-351.
  • Spangler R, B Zaitchik, E Russo, and E Kellogg (1999) Andropogoneae evolution and generic limits in Sorghum (Poaceae) using ndhF sequences. Systematic Botany 24:267-281.

Regional Experience:

East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya; North Africa: Egypt; Middle East: Syria, Turkey; East Asia & the Pacific: Cambodia; Latin America: Peru; North America: United States

Research Tools:

Languages and fluency level: Climate and land surface models, Remote sensing, Data Assimilation, Geographical Information Systems, Field survey and flux measurements

Magazine Articles:

Themes Categories:

Water in the Environment
Water Infrastructure

People Categories:

Leadership Committee
NSF IGERT Participant


Climate dynamics, Surface hydrology, Climatic variability, Hydrologic variability, Anthropogenic influence, Drought prediction