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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Kathryn Semmens
Research Physical Scientist

photo of Kathryn Semmens Kathryn Semmens
Research Physical Scientist
USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory
104 Bldg. 007, BARC-West
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 USA
Voice: (301) 504-8554
Fax: (301) 504-8931

Research Interests:

  • Remote sensing of evapotranspiration for drought monitoring and water resource management.
  • Multi-sensor data fusion for spatiotemporal improvements.
  • Remote sensing of snowmelt (passive microwave) for hydrological and surface energy modeling.


  • 2006 B.S. (Environmental Studies, Biostatistics Minor) Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA.
  • 2008 M.M.P. (Marine Policy) University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
  • 2013 Ph.D. (Earth & Environmental Sciences) Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.

Professional Experience:

  • 05/03-07/06: Interlibrary Loan Assistant, Myrin Library, Ursinus College.
  • 05/05-08/05: Internship, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III.
  • 05/07-09/07: Research Assistant, Global Forum for Oceans, Coasts, and Islands.
  • 09/08-08/09: Associate, Pew Environment Group, The Pew Charitable Trusts.
  • 09/09-09/10: Teaching Assistant, Lehigh University.
  • 09/10-05/13: NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellow, Lehigh University.
  • 01/13-05/13: Adjunct, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University.
  • 05/13-07/13: Professional Intern, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company.
  • 08/13-present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory; Supervisor: Dr. Martha Anderson.


  • 2003-2006: Ursinus College Merit Scholarship.
  • 2004-2006: EPA Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship recipient.
  • 2004: Phi Beta Kappa as Junior (National Honor Society).
  • 2005: Whitian Honor Society (Female achievement).
  • 2005: Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship (environmental policy merit based).
  • 2006: Frederick M. Binder Award (high academic and professional achievement).
  • 2006-2007: Marian R. Okie Fellowship (University of DE tuition and stipend).
  • 2007-2008: UD CMES Marine Policy Fellowship (tuition and stipend).
  • 2009: UD Frances Severance/Academic Council Award (for best thesis).
  • 2010: Best Teaching Assistant Award, Lehigh University, EES Dept.
  • 2010-2013: NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship.
  • 2011: The Wiesnet Medal for best student paper (Eastern Snow Conference).
  • 2011: Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research ($1000 grant for snow depth sensor).
  • 2012: Outstanding Student Paper Award 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Professional Service:

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Eastern Snow Conference
  • American Meteorological Society

Selected Publications:(please contact the author to determine reprint availability)

( view author's publications/interpretive summaries/technical abstracts since 1999)

Semmens, K.A. 2013. Passive microwave derived snowmelt timing: significance, spatial and temporal variability, and potential applications (Doctoral dissertation). Lehigh University, Earth and Environmental Sciences. ProQuest.

Semmens, K.A., Ramage, J., Apgar, J.D., Bennett, K., Liston, G.E., and Deeb, E. 2013. Passive microwave remote sensing of snowmelt and melt-refreeze using diurnal amplitude variations. Book Chapter in AGU Monograph from Chapman Conference on Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle. In press.

Semmens, K.A., Ramage, J.M. 2013. Recent changes in spring snowmelt timing in the Yukon River Basin detected by passive microwave satellite data, The Cryosphere, 7, 905-916, doi:10.5194/tc-7-905-2013.

Semmens, K.A., Ramage, J., Bartsch, A., Liston, G. 2013. Early snowmelt events: detection, distribution, and significance in a major sub-arctic watershed. Environmental Research Letters, 8, 014020, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014020

Semmens, K.A., Ramage, J.M. 2013. Detecting changes in melt regime patterns and melt dynamics of icefields using passive microwave brightness temperatures. Proceedings of Earth Observation and Cryosphere Science, 13-16 November 2012, ESA-ESRIN, Frascati, Italy.

Semmens, K., Ramage, J. 2012. Investigating Correlations between Snowmelt and Forest Fires in a High Latitude Snowmelt Dominated Drainage Basin. Hydrological Processes, 26 (17), 2608-2617, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9327.

Ramage, J., Semmens, K. 2012. Reconstructing Snowmelt Runoff in the Yukon River Basin Using the SWEHydro Model and AMSR-E Observations. Hydrological Processes, 26 (17), 1818-1827, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9226.

Ramage, J., Semmens, K. 2012. SWEHydro Model and AMSR-E observations: an effective tool to reconstruct snowmelt runoff timing and magnitude. Remote Sensing and Hydrology (Proceedings of a symposium held at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA, September 2010), eds. Christopher M.U. Neale and Michael H. Cosh, IAHS Publ. 352, 2012, ISSN 0144-7815.

Wallace, R., Semmens, K. 2009. Policy-Oriented Professionalism and Federal Administration: An Appraisal of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. Policy Sciences Journal, DOI: 10.1007/s11077-009-9104-4

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Last Modified: 11/29/2013
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