Keith Cherkauer is a Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, Director of the Indiana Water Resources Research Center (IWRRC), and Co-Lead of the Water Challenges Research Community within the Institute for a Sustainble Future (ISF). He received a B.A. in Physics from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois; an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering (Environmental Remote Sensing) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado; and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Before joining the ABE department in 2004, he worked for two years as a Research Scientist in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington.
Dr. Cherkauer works to facilitate the integration of field based observations, remote sensing products and hydrology models to address questions and concerns related to environmental change and to further our understanding of land-atmosphere interactions and the hydrologic cycle. He has worked on problems related to the monitoring of water temperature, and water quality metrics from satellite, aircraft and in situ sensor systems. Field and remote sensing based observations of soil moisture and temperature, snow cover, streamflow, crop phenology, lake and wetland extent, and other environmental variables have been used to develop or improve algorithms for Land Surface Schemes and watershed hydrology models. Updated models are then applied to quantify changes and risks associated with land use and climate change. Recent research includes quantification of land use and climate change impacts on water availability and the movement of water through the environment; the applicability of aircraft- and satellite-based remote sensing for monitoring water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Midwestern inland water bodies and rivers, and the use of remote sensing imagery from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to quantify the effects of environment and genetics on crop yield and water use.