Kelly Kochanski

  • Program Year: 3
  • Academic Institution: University of Colorado
  • Field of Study: Earth Surface Processes
  • Academic Advisor: Robert Anderson and Gregory Tucker
  • Practicum(s):
    Los Alamos National Laboratory (2017)
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2018)
  • Degree(s):
    B.S. Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, and B.S. Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015
  • Personal URL:

Summary of Research

Wind-blown snow forms ripples, dunes, and waves. These features are called bedforms. They are a beautiful example of self-organization in nature. They cover ridges on mountains and ice sheets on Antarctica. My current research aims to model the formation and evolution of snow bedforms.

My long-term research goal is to develop computational tools for water resources research, and to improve our predictions of the way that water resources respond to environmental change.


---In Prep---
Kochanski, K, G Tucker, R Anderson. "The evolution of snow bedforms in the Colorado Front Range".
Kochanski, K, C Downie, A Robeson, B Rountree. "Reduction of topographic data from a geologic simulation".

---Journal Articles---
Kochanski, K, R Anderson, G Tucker (2018). "Statistical classification of self-organized snow surfaces". Geophysical Research Letters 45(13).

---Workshop Papers---
IJzermans, RHA, A Thyagarajan, V Ramohalli Gopala, BWH van Beest, JMVA Koelman, PK Pan, KA Kochanski, BD Jones, JR Williams. "Simulating the impact of extreme sea waves on offshore structures with SPH". SPHERIC International Workshop, 8-1 (2015).

---Invited Talks---
2) Kochanski, K (Jan 2018). "Bedforms and Blizzards". Seminar for CU-Boulder Ice Sheets and Climate group, Boulder, CO.
1) Kochanski, K (Jul 2017). "The thermal conductivity of snow". Seminar for Coast, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling group, Los Alamos, NM.

---Selected Abstracts---
11) Kochanski et al. "Building a better snow model with high-performance computing", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Student Symposium, Livermore, CA. (Aug. 2018).
10) Defazio, G., Victorino, J., Kochanski, K., Rountree, B. "Parallelizing cellular automata using OpenMP", Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Student Symposium, Livermore, CA. (Aug. 2018).
9) Kochanski, K. "Understanding Earth with Data Science", Data Science Un-Seminar, Livermore, CA. (June 2018).
8) Kochanski, K., G Tucker, R Anderson. "When is snow flat?" CSDMS Annual Meeting, Boulder, CO (May 2018).
7) Kochanski, K, G Tucker, R Anderson. "The self-organization of snow and the growth of sastrugi", Colorado Scientific Society, Golden, CO. (Sept. 2017).
6) Kochanski, K. "The thermal conductivity of snow". Invited seminar for Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling Group, Los Alamos National Lab, NM.
5) Kochanski, K, G Tucker, R Anderson. "Snow bedform growth as a function of wind speed and snow age". 22nd Annual CESM workshop, Boulder, CO (Jun. 2017)
4) Kochanski, K, D Hobley, G Tucker. "The effect of grid resolution on a landscape evolution model". Poster, National Center for Earth Surface Dynamics Summer Institute (Aug. 2016).
3) Kochanski, K, T Herring. "Ice accumulation and the apparent seasonal variation of GPS stations in Alaska". Poster, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, G33A (Dec. 2015).
2) Kochanski, K, A Klishin. "IYPT problems teach high school students about teamwork and the scientific method". Poster, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, ED53E (Dec. 2015).
1) Marshall HL, NS Schulz, R Heilmann, K Kochanski. "Progress in soft x-ray polarimetry". Poster, American Astronomical Society Meeting (June 2012).


2016 - DOE Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowship.
2016 - NSF GRFP and NDSEG Fellowships (both declined).
2015 - University of Colorado Chancellor's Fellowship.

Research funding:
2017 - Geological Society of America Research Grant.
2016 - University of Colorado Dept. Geology Patterson Award.
2016 - Colorado Scientific Society Memorial Fund Award.
2016 - American Alpine Club Research Grant.

2018 - Quora Top Writer (2017 & 2018). 5k followers, 3m views.
2017 - 'Best Student Presentation' from the Colorado Scientific Society.
2015 - MIT Suzanne Berger Award for Future Global Leaders.
2014 - MIT Burchard Scholar for distinguished students in the humanities.
2011 - International Baccalaureate, 45/45 points.