Scott Tyler headhsot

Scott W. Tyler

Professor Emeritus


Dr. Tyler's areas of focus span the wide range of hydrology and environmental fluid dynamics. He is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering and adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He serves as co-PI for the Centers for Transformative Environmental Sensing Programs (, a National Science Foundation supported instrument center focusing on the development of distributed fiber optic sensing, unmanned aircraft remote sensing and innovative environmental sensors.

He as published over 130 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters beginning with a focus on fractal approaches in porous media, arid region hydrogeology, variable density groundwater flow, micrometeorology and remote sensing. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.

Beginning in late 2022, Dr. Tyler was appointed by President Biden to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) and serves as deputy chair. The NTWRB ( provides technical review to the US Department of Energy's spent nuclear fuel and high level nuclear waste management and disposal.

Relevant past experience

Tyler has conducted research on land surface energy exchanges in the Atacama Desert of Chile and in Switzerland, developed paleoclimate response of desert vadose zone and aquifers, quantification of the role of convection on Antarctic lakes and studied the impact of the 2004 Asian tsunami on groundwater quality in Sri Lanka. He is a former editor for AGU's Water Resources Research,past Chair of the American Geophysical Union's Hydrology Section and past Chair of the GSA's Hydrogeology Division and former Distinguished Darcy Lecturer.

Research interests

His research is focused on water, solutes and energy fluxes in the subsurface, as well as their exchange into the atmosphere. He and his team of students and post-doctoral researchers are currently also studying the role of groundwater/surface water interactions in aquatic ecology,the study of Antarctic ice shelf stability, the quantitative assessment of root dynamics using micro-Computed X-ray Tomography (MCT), as well as the design and operation of salinity-gradient solar ponds coupled with membrane distillation for the development of low-cost desalination.

Courses taught

  • Vadose Zone Hydrology (GEOL 784): This graduate level course focuses on the flow and transport of water and solutes in unsaturated porous media. The course emphasis numerical methods and the course extensively uses a partially saturated flow and transport simulator for all aspects of the topics.
  • Ground Water Hydrology (GE 684): This course provides the basic introduction to ground water hydrology. It is required for all Hydrologic Sciences Program graduate students as well as all undergraduates in Geologic Engineering.
  • Evaporation and its Measurement (GEOL 782): This graduate level seminar is designed to introduce the concepts of evaporation and energy transport at the land surface. The course details commonly used empirical, energy budget and direct measurement techniques to estimate actual and potential evapotranspiration. Taught in 1995 and 2006.
  • Hydrologic Field Methods (GEOL 701Z): This graduate level course emphasis “hands-on” training of all major methods and equipment used for both surface water and ground water investigations. Components of the course include a 48 hour aquifer test, geochemical sampling of groundwater, construction and maintenance of an automated weather station, stream gauging, stream sediment analysis, and aquifer slug testing and basic surveying. This course is taught yearly.
  • Hydrology/Hydrogeology Seminar (GEOL 782): This is a required course of all Hydrologic Science Graduate students. The course emphasizes writing skills, presentation skills and review of seminal papers in the hydrologic sciences. Taught yearly since 1999.


  • Ph.D. Hydrology/Hydrogeology, University of Nevada, Reno, 1990
    • Dissertation Title: Fractal Applications to Soil Hydraulic Properties
  • M.S. in Hydrology, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 1983
    • Thesis Title: Field Results of Borehole Infiltration Tests
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut,1978

Selected publications

All publications from Scott Tyler