PhD work at UNC Chapel Hill

My last paper was looking into how war, drought, and human dam management impact the water in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (which flow through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq). It’s a very interesting topic to me, and I’m very lucky I get to study this.

Because I can’t get a lot of on-the-ground information from these countries, I instead rely almost solely on satellite data. The data has been collected through NASA; and under President Obama, all the data was made freely accessible to download, for everyone in the world. That was great policy-making on their part. I access the data through Google Earth Engine.

I made an animation that captured what I was working on – check it out below! That animation was even published alongside the journal paper that went with it, which made me very happy.

This is like the seven millionth version of this animation. I think I finally got it how I want it to be.

Before starting on Tigris/Euphrates research, I studied the Chesapeake Bay. I was using satellite data to check out how polluted water is. If you don’t think that a satellite way up in space can figure out how polluted water is, then just check out the next animation below, it explains it all. I made it with a class of 7th grade students in Sweden (so activate the English subtitles if you need them).

While visiting this school, one of the staff members asked me further about my research, and we video-recorded it. You can check it out here (Swedish school, but we did it in English).


Hasan, M., A. Moody, L. Benninger, and H. Hedlund. 2018. How war, drought, and dam management impact water supply in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Ambio. doi:

Hasan, M., and L. Benninger. 2017. Resiliency of the western Chesapeake Bay to total suspended solid concentrations following storms and accounting for land-cover. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 191. Elsevier Ltd: 136–149. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.002.

Eddy, T. D., H. K. Lotze, E. A. Fulton, M. Coll, C. H. Ainsworth, J. N. de Araújo, C. M. Bulman, A. Bundy, V. Christensen, J. C. Field, N.A. Gribble, M. Hasan, S. Mackinson, and H. Townsend.  2017. Ecosystem effects of invertebrate fisheries. Fish Fish. 18. doi:10.1111/faf.12165

Li, Y., J. M. Gibson, P. Jat, G. Puggioni, M. Hasan, J. J. West, W. Vizuete, K. Sexton, M. Serre. 2010. Burden of disease attributed to anthropogenic air pollution in the United Arab Emirates: estimates based on observed air quality data. The Science of the total environment 408: 5784–93. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.08.017.