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Daniel Fuka

Postdoctoral Associate
  • Research areas: Geoscience interfacing, watershed sciences
Daniel Fuka, Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering Faculty
Cornell University


Ph.D. Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2013

M.S. Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, 1995

B.S. Horticulture, New Mexico State University, 1991


2000–2010, Chief Science Officer (title), Rockwell Collins’ ARGIS

1999–2008, Vice President, Co-Founder, Weather Insight, LP

2002–2008, Adjunct Faculty Fort Lewis College, Physics and Engineering

1994–1999, Senior Research Engineer/Scientist, Quetzal Computational Associates, Inc.

I develop and teach short courses for regional and international watershed modeling and management planning.

Introduction to EcoHydRological Modeling
I have developed and maintained short courses related to Ecohydrological modeling with the R statistical language. These courses have centered around student, watershed manager, and researcher use and adaptation of the CRAN distributed EcoHydRology software libraries.
Scope: Regional and International.

Including Topographical Driven Processes into the SWAT and APEX Watershed Models
I have developed and maintained short courses for integrating deterministic topographically driven processes into the SWAT and APEX watershed modeling systems. These short courses developed for watershed managers, students, and researchers, have been in support of the TopoSWAT ArcGIS toolbox that interfaces with the ArcSWAT watershed modeling GIS interface.
Scope: Regional and International

Forcing Hydrological Models Anywhere
I have developed and maintained short courses for interfacing global weather data sets with surface hydrological process models. These courses are developed for watershed managers, students, and researchers, supporting hydrological process models in any form from spreadsheet based, to higher level computer language based, to complex GIS interfaced modeling systems.
Scope: Regional and International.

Research Focus

I am a research scientist and engineer with 20 years of professional experience in complex problem solving and high performance computing. I work primarily as a scientific modeler bridging numerous fields to provide solutions that are better than solutions currently in existence in any one field. My current research involves coupling atmospheric modeling systems and re-analysis data sets with process based surface hydrological models, and refining land surface models to be more “process based” requiring less localized calibration and making them usable in modeling climate change.

Current Projects  
My postdoc has been dedicated to building the foundational basis for my continued research. Significant projects include:

  • Optimizing access into the massive weather and atmospheric datasets allowing researchers and watershed managers to perform atmospheric to hydrological coupling for any location in the world. Datasets we are currently coupling to are the 32 year hourly deterministic forecast based simulations initialized with reanalysis time steps from 1979 to present.
  • Building toolsets to dynamically generate surface characterization parameterizations for any watershed in the world based off of global soil pedon dataset and globally available elevation models.
  • Establishing cross scientific field domain and cross institutional research teams to optimally transcend into significant new scientific breakthroughs. These teams tightly couple the Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering Department to several of the leading atmospheric, oceanographic, and computational and information systems science collaboration teams around the world.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Fuka, D.R., Collick, A.S.,  Kleinman, P.J.A., Auerbach, Harmel, R.D., Easton, Z.M. 2015. Improving the spatial representation of soil properties and hydrology using topographically derived initialization processes in the SWAT model. Hyd. Proc. (in review)
  • Auerbach, D.A. Easton, Z.M., Walter, M.T., Flecker, A.S. Fuka, D.R. 2015. Evaluation of weather data for hydrologic modeling in Puerto Rico: a comparison of ground observations and Climate Forecast System Reanalysis inputs to SWAT. Hyd. Proc. (in press).
  • Collick, A.S. Veith, T.L, Fuka, D.R., Kleinman, P.J.A., Buda, A.R., Weld, J.L., Bryant, R.B., Vadas, P.A., White, J.M., Harmel, R.D. Easton, Z.M., 2015. Improved simulation of edaphic and manure phosphorus loss in SWAT. J. Env. Qual (in press).
  • Collick, A.S., Fuka, D.R., Kleinman, P.J., Buda, A.R., Weld, J.L., White, M.J., Veith, T.L., Bryant, R.B.,  Bolster, C.H.,  Easton, Z.M. 2015. Predicting phosphorus dynamics in complex terrains using a variable source area hydrology model. Hydrological Processes,29(4), 588-601.
  • Radcliffe, D.E., Reid, D.K., Blombäck, K., Bolster, C.H., Collick, A.S., Easton, Z.M., Francesconi, W., Fuka, D.R., Johnsson, H., King, K., Larsbo, M., Youssef, M.A., Mulkey, A.S., Nelson, N.O., Persson, K., Ramirez-Avila, J.J., Schmieder, F., Smith, D. R. 2015. Applicability of models to predict phosphorus losses in drained fields: A review. Journal of Environmental Quality, 44(2), 614-628.
  • Archibald, J.A., Buchanan, B.P., Fuka, D.R., Georgakakos, C.B., Lyon, S.W., & Walter, M.T. 2014. A simple, regionally parameterized model for predicting nonpoint source areas in the northeastern US. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 1, 74-91.
  • Fuka, D.R., Walter, M.T., MacAlister, C., Degaetano, A.T., Steenhuis, T.S., Easton, Z.M. 2014. Using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis as weather input data for watershed models. Hydrological Processes, 28(22), 5613-5623.
  • Fuka, D.R., Walter, M.T., MacAlister, C., Steenhuis, T.S., Easton, Z.M. 2014. SWATmodel: A Multi‐Operating System, Multi‐Platform SWAT Model Package in R. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association,50(5), 1349-1353.
  • Fuka, D.R., M.T. Walter, C.A. MacAllister, A.T. Degaetano, T.S. Steenhuis, Z.M. Easton. 2013. Using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis dataset to improve weather input data for watershed models. Hydrol. Proc. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10073.
  • Dahlke, H.E., Z.M. Easton, D.R, Fuka, M.T, Walter, T.S. Steenhuis. 2013. Real-time forecast of hydrologically sensitive areas in the Salmon Creek Watershed, New York State, using an online prediction tool. Water. 5, 917-944; doi:10.3390/w5030917.
  • Fuka, D.R., Z.M. Easton, E.S. Brook, J. Boll, T.S. Steenhuis, M.T. Walter. 2012. Process-based snowmelt modeling: Integration into watershed models. J. Am. Water Res. Assoc. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2012.00680.x
  • Easton, Z.M., M.T. Walter, D.R. Fuka, E.D. White, T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. A simple concept for calibrating runoff thresholds in quasi-distributed variable source area watershed models. Hydrol. Proc. doi:10.1002/hyp.8032, 2011.
  • Meng, L., P.G.M. Hess, N.M Mahowald, J.B. Yavitt, W.J. Riley, Z.M. Subin, D.M Lawrence, S.C. Swenson, J. Jauhiainen, D.R. Fuka. 2011. Sensitivity of wetland methane emissions to model assumptions: Application and model testing against site observations. Biogeosciences Discuss. 8: 6095-6160, doi:10.5194/bgd-8-6095-2011.
  • Morales, V.L., W. Sang, D.R. Fuka, L.W. Lion, B. Gao, T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. Correlation equation for predicting attachment efficiency of organic matter-colloid complexes in unsaturated porous media. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45(23): 10096-10101.
  • White, E.D., Z.M. Easton, D.R. Fuka, A.S. Collick, E. Adgo, M. McCartney, T.S. Steenhuis. 2011. Development and application of a physically based landscape water balance in the SWAT model. Hydrological Processes 25(6):915-25.
  • Easton, Z.M., D.R. Fuka, E.D White, A.S. Collick, B.B Ashagre, M. McCartney, S.B. Awulachew, A.A. Ahmed, T.S Steenhuis. 2010. A multi basin SWAT model analysis of runoff and sedimentation in the Blue Nile, Ethiopia. Hydrological Earth Systems Sci. (HESS) 14:1827-1841. doi:10.5194/hess-14-1827-2010, 2010.
  • Easton, Z.M., P.J. Sullivan, M.T. Walter, D.R. Fuka, A.M. Petrovic, T.S. Steenhuis. 2010. A simple metric to predict stream water quality from storm runoff in an urban watershed. J. Environmental Quality 39: 1338-1348. doi:10.2134/jeq2010.0013.
  • Dahlke, H.E., Z.M. Easton, D.R. Fuka, S. Lyon, T.S. Steenhuis. 2009. Developing and testing a semi-distributed model to predict saturated area dynamics in an agriculturally dominated watershed. Ecohydrology. 2(3): 337-349.
  • Easton Z.M., D.R. Fuka, M.T. Walter, D.M. Cowan, E.M. Schneiderman, T.S. Steenhuis. 2008. Re-conceptualizing the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model to predict runoff from variable source areas. J. of Hydrology 348(3):279-291.
  • Lyon, S.W., F. Dominguez, D.J. Gochis, N.A. Brunsell, C.L. Castro, F.K. Chow, D.R. Fuka, M.T. Walter. 2008. Coupling terrestrial and atmospheric water dynamics to improve prediction in a changing environment. Bull. Am. Meteorological Soc. 89(9): 1275-12759.