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Energy and Environment Directorate

Sean WD Turner

Sean WD Turner

(206) 528-3384


Dr. Sean Turner is a Water Resources Modeler in the Hydrology Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He began his career in industry, where he developed risk assessment tools to support water resources planning activities at major utilities in the UK and Australia. He then completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Singapore University of Technology and Design before coming to the US to work at the Joint Global Change Research Institute in Maryland. His research interests include reservoir optimization, applications of seasonal streamflow forecasts, and regional scale water resources modeling. Now based in Seattle, his current research activities include the study of climate impacts on electricity supply systems, analysis of the potential effects of widespread aquifer depletion on global food supplies, and development of reservoir operating schemes for application in global and regional hydrology models. Sean is an open source software enthusiast, and he maintains the R packages "reservoir" and "scenario".

Research Interests

  • Reservoir operations; water resources planning and management, Interdependencies between water, energy and food systems.

Education and Credentials

  • Engineering Doctorate in Water Resources Planning (Cranfield University, UK)
  • MSc in Hydrology and Climate Change (Newcastle University, UK)
  • BSc in Engineering Environmental Design (University of Glasgow, UK)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Best reviewer - Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 2018.
  • Editors' highlight - Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2017.
  • Top performing research engineer - STREAM Industrial Doctorate Centre, 2011.
  • Pavel Novak prize for best overall performance (water) - Newcastle University, 2010.
  • Best project in civil engineering hydraulics - University of Glasgow, 2008.
  • Dean's list - University of Glasgow, 2008.

PNNL Publications


  • Graham N.T., M.I. Hejazi, M. Chen, E. Davies, J.A. Edmonds, S.H. Kim, and S. Turner, et al. 2020. "Humans drive future water scarcity changes across all Shared Socioeconomic Pathways." Environmental Research Letters 15, no. 1:Article No. 014007. PNNL-SA-151297. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab639b
  • Nguyen H., S. Turner, B.M. Buckley, and S. Galelli. 2020. "Coherent streamflow variability in Monsoon Asia over the past eight centuries---links to oceanic drivers." Water Resources Research 56, no. 12:Article No. e2020WR027883. PNNL-SA-148408. doi:10.1029/2020WR027883
  • Turner S., K.M. Doering, and N. Voisin. 2020. "Data-driven reservoir simulation in a large-scale hydrological and water resource model." Water Resources Research 56, no. 10:Article No.e2020WR027902. PNNL-SA-153063. doi:10.1029/2020WR027902
  • Turner S., W. Xu, and N. Voisin. 2020. "Inferred inflow forecast horizons guiding reservoir release decisions across the United States." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 24, no. 3:1275-1291. PNNL-SA-142797. doi:10.5194/hess-24-1275-2020
  • Voisin N., A. Dyreson, T. Fu, M. O'Connell, S. Turner, T. Zhou, and J. Macknick. 2020. "Impact of climate change on water availability and its propagation through the Western U.S. power grid." Applied Energy 276. PNNL-SA-150871. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115467


  • Arango S., S. Turner, K. Daenzer, J. Ríos-Ocampo, M.I. Hejazi, T. Kober, and A.C. Alvarez, et al. 2019. "Climate impacts on hydropower in Colombia: A multi-model assessment of power sector adaptation pathways." Energy Policy 128. PNNL-SA-130753. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.12.057
  • Turner S., M.I. Hejazi, C. Yonkofski, S.H. Kim, and P. Kyle. 2019. "Influence of groundwater extraction costs and resource depletion limits on simulated global nonrenewable water withdrawals over the twenty-first century." Earth's Future 7, no. 2:123-135. PNNL-SA-129871. doi:10.1029/2018EF001105
  • Turner S., N. Voisin, J. Fazio, D. Hua, and M. Jourachi. 2019. "Compound climate events transform electrical power shortfall risk in the Pacific Northwest." Nature Communications 10, no. 1:Article No. 8. PNNL-SA-136249. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07894-4
  • Vernon C.R., M.I. Hejazi, S. Turner, Y. Liu, C.J. Braun, X. Li, and R.P. Link. 2019. "A Global Hydrologic Framework to Accelerate Scientific Discovery." Journal of Open Research Software 7, no. 1:Article No. 1. PNNL-SA-137438. doi:10.5334/jors.245


  • Lucena A., M.I. Hejazi, E. Vasquez-Arroyo, S. Turner, A. Köberle, K. Daenzer, and P. Rochedo, et al. 2018. "Interactions between climate change mitigation and adaptation: The case of hydropower in Brazil." Global Environmental Change 164. PNNL-SA-130754. doi:10.1016/


  • Turner S., J. Bennett, D. Robertson, and S. Galelli. 2017. "Complex relationship between seasonal streamflow forecast skill and value in reservoir operations." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21, no. 9:4841-4859. PNNL-SA-126975. doi:10.5194/hess-21-4841-2017
  • Turner S., J.Y. Ng, and S. Galelli. 2017. "Examining global electricity supply vulnerability to climate change using a high-fidelity hydropower dam model." Science of the Total Environment 590-591. PNNL-ACT-SA-10218. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.022

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas