Staff profile: Rasool Porhemmat

What is your area of specialty/role at NIWA?

I am a hydrologist at NIWA based in Christchurch. I joined the NIWA hydrology group after completing a PhD at University of Canterbury in 2021. My expertise is in the fields of hydrometeorology, alpine hydrology, conceptualization and modelling of surface water and ground water.

What made you made you want to work in that area?

I was born in Shiraz, in the heart of Zagros mountains and grew up in Tehran, located in the foothills of Alborz mountains. I have always been fascinated with mountains and their importance for water resources. My father was also a hydrologist, and I went on field trips with him as a kid playing in the hills and rivers while he was busy measuring the river flows and installing instruments. Naturally I ended up pursuing geology and alpine hydrogeology during my undergraduate and graduate studies.

Rasool has found the Southern Alps a place to embrace his two biggest passions... climbing and hydrogeology. [Photo: Rasool Porhemmat, NIWA]

What's the most rewarding thing you've done in your career so far?

My most rewarding experience was working on my PhD which was a joint project between University of Canterbury and NIWA. It focussed on the hydrometeorology and hydrology of snow processes in the Southern Alps /Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. The magnificent Southern Alps are a natural treasure playing a key role in water resources of the South Island as they host some of the biggest river systems in the country. Since joining NIWA, I have been involved in several national-scale projects including developing a new parameterization for groundwater modelling as a part of The New Zealand Water Model (NZWaM). NZWaM is an integrated platform that will link a wide range of environmental data into a modular modelling system. The physical domain of NZWaM extends from the top of the atmosphere to rivers, lakes, aquifers and estuaries.

What do you like to do outside of your work at NIWA?

I love getting out and about in the mountains for a hike or for rock climbing. I also enjoy running. We are so lucky to have a group of passionate runners here at NIWA, Christchurch, who go for a lunchtime run around Hagley Park three times a week.

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