Sameer Balaji Uttarwar Researcher Feature: Improving hydro-meteorological forecasts

Sameer (the author) stands in front of beautiful snow capped Alpine mountains.
Inspired by the love of his family, support of his advisors, and his father’s dedication to education, doctoral candidate Sameer Balaji Uttarwar studies changes in some of the world’s most vital water resources, from high in the Italian alps to deep in Indian coastal aquifers.

About Yourself:

My name is Sameer Balaji Uttarwar, and I am a Doctoral candidate at University of Trento, Italy. My research focuses on improving seasonal hydro-meteorological forecasts to support optimal water resource allocation in Alpine catchments. I am currently working on bias correction of seasonal and subseasonal weather forecasts in the Alpine catchments. I received my master’s degree in water resources engineering in 2019 from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India, where I investigated the influence of hydroclimatic factors on groundwater level in humid tropical coastal aquifers of southwest India. In 2016, I graduated from the Shivaji University, Kolhapur, India, with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. 

Outside of my research work, I like exploring new places and competing in beach volleyball and badminton games on the weekends. In addition, I find gardening to be a relaxing hobby.

In these images, Sameer visits an overlook of an Italian city, a cold mountain Garda lake, and the Neckar River in Tübingen, Germany.
Along with his research expeditions, Sameer, a doctoral candidate at University of Trento, Italy, has explored many fascinating cities, lakes, and rivers along his educational journey.

What do you like most about your lab group/community?

Diversity is the best thing about my hydrology lab group at the University of Trento, Italy. When you sit down in a room with individuals from a variety of various nations, you have the opportunity to pick up new languages, try new foods, and get familiar with a variety of different cultures. All the members of my research group have an interest in expanding our linguistic and technical horizons via mutual teaching and learning. This fosters an atmosphere conducive to fruitful collaboration in research.

Every Wednesday, my group visits a well-known pizzeria for pizza. Every other day at coffee break, we converse in Italian so international students may learn Italian and Italian students can learn English (illustrated in picture below).

In Sameer’s hydrology lab group, a sign is posted about which language will be spoken each day. English is spoken Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Italian is spoken Tuesday and Thursday. Lab members are invited to please expect this choice.
Diversity is what Sameer enjoys most about his hydrology lab group, including exposure to different cultures, foods, and languages. The group enjoys eating pizza together on Wednesdays and alternating between English and Italian at their daily coffee break.

Give us an elevator pitch of your last paper?

My most recent study employed copulas (a function that joins one-dimensional marginal distributions of numerous random variables to their joint distribution function) to model bivariate hydroclimatic variables in humid tropical coastal areas of India. The groundwater level, which is an important supply of irrigation water in India, was our primary variable of interest. The majority of groundwater in coastal India is replenished by monsoon rain, and therefore it is critical to understand how groundwater levels are anticipated to fluctuate after the monsoon. Using bivariate Archimedean copulas (a family of copula functions), I developed a dependence model between monsoon precipitation, the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index, and post-monsoon groundwater levels, as well as tidal height and monthly groundwater levels. The results revealed  statistically significant negative correlation between the ENSO index and post monsoon groundwater level, positive correlation between monsoonal precipitation and post monsoon groundwater levels, and negative correlation between tidal height and monthly groundwater levels.

Uttarwar, S.B.; Barma, S.D.; Mahesha, A. Bivariate modeling of hydroclimatic variables in humid tropical coastal region using Archimedean copulas. J. Hydrol. Eng. 2020, 25, 05020026.

Which website/blog/app do you use to get/share information related to your career?

I use Twitter to stay up to date on newly released research publications and information about various research activities throughout the globe. It’s an excellent social networking programme for facilitating the simultaneous dissemination of research-related jobs, projects, outcomes, papers, and conference announcements. In 2019, when my first published research came out, I made my first tweet. Twitter also helped me to stumble upon a very good online course of Machine Learning which was very helpful in my course of PhD.

What inspires you?

Many things inspire me, but I will narrow it down to two.

  1. The love and support of my family is my greatest inspiration. For my education, my father relocated our family to the city, enrolled me in a reputable institution, and commuted daily to his place of employment. His dedication to building my educational platform inspired me to become the person I am today. 
  2. The people who educate me inspire me. The dedication and consistency, with which my PhD advisor, Prof. Bruno Majone, handles research issues, as well as his meticulous nature, serve as an endless source of inspiration for me. Prof Amai Mahesha, my master’s advisor, also inspired me to do quality research, and taught me to value my work.
  3. Rejections inspire me. The setbacks I have experienced have only served to strengthen my determination and problem-solving skills. Truth be told, I applied to a number of premium Indian universities for a PhD position, but was never accepted. But this didn’t let me down, and I kept on trying until I finally landed in University of Trento, an institution I had long admired.

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