Peter Kirchner - Physical Scientist

A close up of Peter initializing the weather station.
Peter works on a weather station.

Peter B. Kirchner
Physical Scientist
Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network
National Park Service
240 W. 5th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
(907) 644-3686

Research Interests
Researching and communicating the importance of the spatial and temporal relationships between hydrologic, ecologic, and biogeochemical processes through the integration of in-situ and remote sensing observations; in support of scientifically informed decision-making.

Ph.D., Environmental Systems, School of Engineering, University of California, Merced
M.Sc., Geography, Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno
B.S., Ecology and Evolution, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis

Selected Professional Activities
Feb 2018 - present: Faculty Affiliate, University of Montana, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, research collaborator on optical and passive microwave remote sensing, PhD student advisor

Dec 2017 - present: National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring, Long Term Data Management Governance Board, Advisory board member tasked with updating and formulating a national long term data management plan

Mar 2015 - present: NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment Science Team member, sub team lead for snow in the Hydrology and Permafrost Group conduct and facilitate collaborative research in earth systems science

Dec 2014 - present: Physical Scientist, support, inventory and monitoring, scientifically informed decision making and collaborative research in earth systems science, Southwest Alaska Network, National Park Service, Anchorage, Alaska

Selected Publications
Pan CG, Kirchner PB, Kimball JS, Kim Y, Du J. 2018. Rain-on-snow events in Alaska, and their frequency and distribution from satellite observations. Environmental Research Letters.

J. Cherry, J. Zhu, P. Kirchner. Snow cover monitoring with MODIS satellite data in Alaska’s national parks, 2000-2015. Natural Resource Report. NPS/SWAN/NRR— 2017/1566. National Park Service. Fort Collins, Colorado

P. Kirchner, C. Lindsay Chapter 5, Case Study: Monitoring Lake Ice in: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Peninsula, G. Hayward, S. Colt, M. McTeague, and T. Hollingsworth, editors, Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report PNW-GTR- 950 May 2017

Z. Zheng, P. Kirchner, R. Bales; Topographic and vegetation effects on snow accumulation in the southern Sierra Nevada: A statistical summary from lidar data, The Cryosphere (2016)

C. Lindsay, J. Zhu, A. Miller, P. Kirchner, T. Wilson; Deriving snow cover metrics for Alaska from MODIS, Remote Sensing (2015)

Z. Zheng, P. Kirchner, R. Bales; Orographic and vegetation effects on snow accumulation in the southern Sierra Nevada: a statistical summary from LiDAR data, The Cryosphere Discussions (2015)

A. Harpold, J. Mashall, S. Lyon, T. Barnhart, B. Fisher, M. Donovan, K. Brubaker, C. Crosby, N. Glenn, C. Glennie, P. Kirchner, N. Lam, K. Mankoff, J. McCreight, N. Molotch, K. Musselman, J. Pelletier, T. Russo, H. Sangireddy, Y. Sjöberg, T. Swetnam, and N. West; Laser vision: lidar as a transformative tool to advance critical zone science, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (2015)

P. Kirchner, R. Bales, N. Molotch, J. Flanagan, Q. Guo; LiDAR measurement of seasonal snow accumulation along an elevation gradient southern Sierra Nevada, California Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions (2014)

A. Harpold, Q. Guo, N. Molotch, R. Bales, K. Musselman, P. Kirchner, M. Litvak and P. Brooks; Snowmelt Infiltration in Mixed-Conifer Subalpine Forests Hydrologic Processes (2014)

A. Harpold, Q. Guo, N. Molotch, P. Brooks, R. Bales, J. Fernandez-Diaz, K. Musselman, T. Swetnam, P. Kirchner, M. Meadows, J. Flanagen, R. Lucas; LiDAR Derived Snowpack Datasets From Mixed Conifer Forests Across the Western U.S., Water Resources Research (2013)

K. Musselman, N. Molotch, S. Margulis, P. Kirchner, R. Bales; Relationships between conifer forest structure and snowmelt dynamics inferred from in-situ observations, hemispherical photographs and canopy radiative transfer, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology (2012) 161:46-56

R. Bales, J. Hopmans, T. O’Geen, M. Meadows, P. Hartsough, P. Kirchner, C. Hunsaker, D. Beaudette; Soil Moisture Response to Snowmelt and Rainfall in a Sierra Nevada Mixed-Conifer Forest, Vadose Zone Journal (2011) 10:786-799

P. Kirchner, F. Biondi, J. McConnell, R. Edwards; Variability of trace metal concentrations in Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) tree rings from the Tahoe Basin, California, USA, Journal of Forest Research (2008) 13:347–356

P. Kirchner, M.S. Thesis, Tree Rings and Archived Trace Metals in the Tahoe Basin, University of Nevada, Reno (2006) 131pp.

Selected Honors and Awards
2017 National Park Service, Department of Interior STAR Special Achievement Award
2014 NASA Group Achievement Award, for the NASA-JPL Airborne Snow Observatory
2011 Southern California Edison Fellowship for Mountain Hydrology Research
Nominated as full member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
2006 Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year, Mackay School of Environmental Science and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno
2005 Nominated to Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society
2004 Mountain Desert Research Scholarship, Department of Geography, University of Nevada, Reno