Sudershan Gangrade: Graduating Researcher of the Hydro Research Foundation

Editor’s Note: This is the most recent in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower. These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a four-year grant.

Sudershan Gangrade is currently a fellow at The Bredesen Center, University of Knoxville, Tennessee and researcher in the Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has a multidisciplinary background spanning the fields of environmental engineering, hydrology, geology and geophysics. At ORNL, he has conducted high resolution distributed hydrological modeling to enable the development of an integrated modeling framework to generate estimates for probable maximum precipitation and flood.

His research interests include hydrologic modeling, impacts of climate change on hydrology, flood modeling and hydrologic extreme events. Prior to joining ORNL, he worked as an Environmental Engineer/Geophysicist at an Environmental Consulting firm in Indianapolis, Indiana where he was involved in a wide variety of projects including environmental assessments and remediation, environmental management and litigation support, water resource exploration, karst mapping and preferential flow pathway detection through geophysical imaging.

Gangrade’s research at ORNL focuses on enhancing modeling capabilities to assess the potential risks on critical energy-water infrastructure, for instance major dams and nuclear power plants, due to extreme precipitation and flood events.

Critical infrastructures require highly-conservative design criteria that may withstand the most severe hydro-climatic extreme events. These design criteria are based on probable maximum precipitation (PMP) and probable maximum flood (PMF) estimates. Theoretically, PMF is upper bound of flood that can occur over a given region and occurs under an adverse set of hydro-meteorological conditions. Since the magnitude and frequency of extreme precipitation and flood are likely to increase in a warming climate, it enhances the need to more accurately quantify the risks from PMP and PMF under climate change.

The research for Hydro Research Foundation Research Awards Program involves utilization of an integrated high-resolution process-based hydrometeorologic modeling framework to 1) develop a multi-ensemble future PMF projection-based on best-available historic observations and future climate change simulations, 2) quantify the effects of climate change on PMF, and 3) assess the potential flood hazards on major energy-water facilities using probabilistic flood inundation maps. The end product will be multi-ensemble, high resolution probabilistic flood maps that illustrate uncertainties associated with model inputs, parameterization and hydro-meteorologic factors which can better inform decision-making for future emergency preparation.

Gangrade is excited to continue work at ORNL following his research award. To connect with him or learn more about the Research Awards Program please email or visit the website


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