Luciana Kindl da Cunha

Vice President, Folsom, CA

Dr. Cunha is a vice president overseeing WEST’s Folsom, California, office. She has over 20 years of international experience in hydrology and water resources engineering. Dr. Cunha is currently working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the development of the Next Generation Water Modeling Framework (NextGen). Dr. Cunha is leading a project for the Oregon Water Resources Department to assess the role of atmospheric rivers (AR) on extreme precipitation estimates, especially probable maximum precipitation (PMP), in the coastal mountains of Oregon. She also leads multiple projects focusing on development of standard for design storms over large and heterogeneous areas (Texas, Arizona, and the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest).

Her experience includes hydrologic modeling, hydrologic risk characterization and assessments, hydrometeorological data collection and analysis, multi-sensor (radar, satellite, and gage) rainfall estimation, climate change analysis, and developing drought contingency plans (DCPs). Dr. Cunha has developed state-of-the-art methods and tools for hydrologic and water resources applications.

Dr. Cunha’s experience at WEST includes developing observed and projected precipitation depth-duration-frequency curves, probable maximum floods, and climate-change-influenced DCPs; developing and implementing streamflow forecast tools using soil moisture data for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and USACE; and analyzing drought and flood vulnerability given climate change.

Her doctoral research at the University of Iowa, supported by NASA, evaluated the potential benefits of remote sensing information for flood forecasting. As a Princeton post-doctoral researcher, she evaluated the updated Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) dual polarization radar system. She also implemented a flood simulation model for the Delaware River basin as a spatially explicit characterization of flood events using a flood index.

Dr. Cunha’s international experience includes research at IIASA (a renowned research institute in Wien, Austria) to develop a method to evaluate urbanization impacts on flood intensity and magnitude. In Brazil, she helped design drainage, sewage, and water supply networks; engineered an integrated system for hydrologic forecasting and multi-use reservoir operation optimization; and contributed to Brazil’s action plan for hydropower generation.

Dr. Cunha is proficient with several programming tools (Python, Matlab, C++, Java, and R) and computer software packages (ArcGIS, ArcView, HEC-HMS, WMS, GGSHA, SWMM, BASINS, SAC-SMA, and others).










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