ASCE Honors Vogel as Distinguished Member

Richard M. Vogel, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, a hydrologist and professor emeritus in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Tufts University, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2020 class of Distinguished Members for a lifetime of fundamental contributions to stochastic hydrology and its novel applications.

Vogel’s work in the field applies stochastic hydrology to such topics as hydrologic design under nonstationarity, probabilistic analysis of floods and natural hazards, hydrologic processes and system analysis, and water supply engineering. He is a pioneer in introducing novel concepts relating to risk and reliability, which have formed the basis for hydrologic design under nonstationary conditions.

He has gifted the field significantly in the areas of watershed modeling and management, and also extended and transferred basic innovations in statistical hydrology to advance the state of practice for the frequency analysis of a range of related hazards, including earthquakes, landslides, winds, and bird and plant extinctions. When Vogel was given ASCE’s Julian Hinds Award in 2009, it was for “advancement of the practice and science of water resource planning and management by providing rigorous and needed statistical foundations for analysis of important problems related to water quality, reservoir operations, low flows and extreme events.”

headshot of Vogel

Vogel’s research experience ranges from water resources engineering to environmental statistics, but mostly involves the application of statistical and systems approaches to the solution of applied  problems in the fields of hydrology, water resources and natural hazards. He has made crucial contributions to reservoir design through key publications generalizing the storage-reliability-yield relationship.

He and his group were the first to define hazard function analysis (HFA) in flooding analysis, which has been extended to and routinely applied in medicine, earthquakes and many other fields. They also popularized and transferred the basic concept of nondimensional sensitivity termed elasticity, which helped in quantifying the impact of climate and land use changes on hydrologic systems. All this support is fundamental and has great effect in both academic and practical communities.

His publications number 145 peer-reviewed journal articles and 15 book chapters; his Google Scholar h-index is 60 with over 13,000 citations. He has given over a dozen keynote lectures and his research has been adopted by many national and regional standards and applications. His hydrologic regressions are now included in the USGS National Hydrology Dataset, and a generalized watershed model developed by his group is the foundation for the EPA WMOST model.

Vogel spent 33 years on the Tufts faculty, receiving four commendations for outstanding service as advisor to the Tufts ASCE Student Chapter. He has had a profound impact in training the next generation of water scientists and engineers, advising more than 70 graduate students. Since 2005 he has also held a position as research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the recipient of the 1995 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. In 2019 he received the Best Paper award from the STAHY section of the International Commission on Statistical Hydrology and the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences.

Read an ASCE Journal article by Vogel.


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