Nicoleta Cristea

Research Scientist, Freshwater Initiative and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


I am a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW, a research scientist with the UW Freshwater Initiative, and a data science fellow at the UW eScience Institute. My work to date has addressed various areas of freshwater research, including snow, evapotranspiration, groundwater, and stream heating processes.

My current research focus is on modeling snow surface temperature and evaluating spatially distributed hydrologic models. Many aspects of my work relate to other fields (e.g. ecology or resource management), and I believe that freshwater is a linking discipline and extremely important for people and nature. I plan to continue this interdisciplinary approach and collaboration with researchers across campus, supporting the broader vision of the Freshwater Initiative.

I am particularly interested in methods’ transferability from smaller to larger scales or to different geographic settings. In my research, I include tools involving geographic information systems, airborne and satellite-derived imagery, spatial statistics and spatial data exploration, spatiotemporal visualization techniques, and statistical and physics-based modeling.

Prior work experience includes working as an environmental engineer at the Washington State Department of Ecology. This experience would help me bridge the UW Freshwater Initiative activities with federal and state agencies and other parties’ science needs, and effectively inform management about relevant freshwater science. I hold Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Washington.


  • Python
  • Matlab
  • Hydrology
  • Analysis of water datasets
  • Remote sensing, spatial analysis
  • Hydrological modeling