Soumendra N Bhanja

Research Scientist

Dr. Soumendra Bhanja is a Research Staff Member in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division at ORNL. He is currently working on large-scale issues of Environmental Systems and machine learning applications. He has experience in developing Python-based codes for automated data processing, process-based biogeochemical model in FORTRAN for simulating multiple biogeochemical cycles at one run. He has been working on groundwater recharge, storage and their controlling factors, and water resources management. Dr. Bhanja received his PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur and has worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center being a recipient of the Fulbright fellowship during this time. Prior to joining ORNL in February-2024, he completed postdoctoral stints at the Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL, Indian Institute of Science, and Athabasca University, respectively.

  1. C. V. Raman Postdoctoral Fellowship 2019 from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), India 
  2. National Postdoctoral Fellowship 2017, India
  3. ‘Best Poster Award’ in ‘Best Science Story’ category at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)’s
    annual poster event, Annual Poster Blowout party, 2016
  4. Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research fellowship 2015-16
  5. Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) Student mobility award 2013-14
  6. CSIR-Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship (SPMF) in Earth sciences in 2012
  7. Junior Research Fellowship in Environmental Sciences, UGC NET June-2012
  1. Associate Editor for Frontiers in Water journal (
  2. Associate Editor for Journal of Coastal and Riverine Flood Risk (
  3. Edited a journal volume on topic "Water Supply Sustainability and Challenges in Asian Mega-deltas
    under Global Change" for Frontiers in Water journal
  4. Program committee member of Urban-AI 2023: 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on
    Advances in Urban-AI. Hamburg, Germany, November 13, 2023 (
  5. Discovery grant proposal reviewer for the NSERC, Canada
  6. Reviewer for multiple articles in journals including Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications, Nature Water

Biogeochemical model development for water quality applications and soil greenhouse gas emissions

  1. S. N. Bhanja, J. Wang, R. Bol (2022). Soil CO2 emission largely dominates the total ecosystem CO2 emission at Canadian boreal forest. Frontiers in Environmental Science.
  2. S. N. Bhanja, J. Wang (2021). Influence of environmental factors on autotrophic, soil and ecosystem
    respirations in Canadian boreal forest. Ecological Indicators, 125, 107517.
  3. J. Wang, N. K. Shrestha, M. A. Delavar, T. W, Meshesha, S. N. Bhanja (2021). Modelling watersheds and river
    basins in cold climate regions: A review. Water, 13(4), 518.
  4. S. N. Bhanja, J. Wang (2020). Estimating influences of environmental drivers on terrestrial heterotrophic
    respiration. Environmental Pollution, 257, 113630.
  5. S. N. Bhanja, J. Wang, N. Shrestha, X. Zheng (2019). Modelling microbial kinetics and thermodynamic
    processes for quantifying soil CO2 emission. Atmospheric Environment, 209, 125-135.
    Soumendra N. Bhanja: Comprehensive CV Page 4 of 11
  6. S. N. Bhanja, J. Wang, N. Shrestha, X. Zheng (2019). Microbial kinetics and thermodynamic (MKT) processes
    for soil organic matter decomposition and dynamic oxidation-reduction potential: Model descriptions and
    applications to soil N2O emissions. Environmental Pollution, 247, 812-823. [I. F.: 9.99; Citations: 20]

Groundwater recharge, storage and its controlling factors; hydrologic modeling

  1. S. N. Bhanja, M. Sekhar (2022). Short-Term and Long-Term Replenishment of Water Storage Influenced by
    Lockdown and Policy Measures in Drought-Prone Regions of Central India. Remote Sensing, 14(8), 1768.
  2. P. Malakar, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja, D. Saha, S. Sarkar, R. Ray (2021). Deep learning-based forecasting of
    groundwater level trends over India: Implications for crop production and drinking water supply. ACS ES&T
  3. P. Malakar, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja, A. R. Ganguly, R. K. Ray, A. Zahid, S. Sarkar, D. Saha, and S.
    Chattopadhyay (2021). Three decades of depth-dependent groundwater response to climate variability and
    human regime in the transboundary Indus-Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna mega river basin aquifers.
    Advances in Water Resources, 149, 103856.
  4. P. Malakar, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja, D. Saha, R. Ray, S. Sarkar, A. Zahid (2021). Machine learning-based
    regional-scale groundwater level prediction using GRACE. Hydrogeology Journal, 29 (3), 1027-1042. 
  5. P. Malakar, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja, D. Saha, R. Ray, S. Sarkar, A. Zahid (2020). Importance of spatial and
    depth-dependent drivers in groundwater level modeling through machine learning. Hydrology and Earth
    System Science Discussions. 
  6. S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee, M. Rodell (2020). Groundwater storage change: Estimates from major river
    basins across India. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 65(4), 650-659.
  7. B. Li, M. Rodell, S. Kumar, H. Beaudoing, A. Getirana, B. Zaitchik, L. DeGoncalves, C. Cossetin, S. N. Bhanja, A.
    Mukherjee, S. Tian, N. Tangdamrongsub, Di Long, J. Nanteza, J. Lee, F. Policelli, I. Goni, D. Daira, M. Bila, G.
    Delannoy, D. Mocko, S. Steele-Dunne, H. Save, S. Bettadpur (2019). Global GRACE data assimilation for
    groundwater and drought monitoring: Advances and challenges. Water Resources Research, 55(9), 7564-
  8. S. N. Bhanja, P. Malakar, A. Mukherjee, M. Rodell, P. Mitra, S. Sarkar (2019). Using satellite-based vegetation
    cover as indicator of groundwater storage. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(14), 8082-8092
  9. S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee (2019). In situ and satellite-based estimates of usable groundwater storage
    across India: implications for drinking water supply and food security. Advances in Water Resources, 126, 15-
  10. S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee, R. Rangarajan, B. R. Scanlon, P. Malakar and S. Verma (2019). Long-term
    groundwater recharge rates across India by in situ measurements. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23,
  11. A. Y. Sun, D. Walling, B. R. Scanlon, Z. Zhang, S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee, Z. Zhong (2019). Combining
    Physically-Based Modeling and Deep Learning for Fusing GRACE Satellite Data: Can We Learn from
    Mismatch? Water Resources Research, 55(2), 1179-1195.
  12. S. N. Bhanja, X. Zheng, and J. Wang (2018). Estimating long-term groundwater storage and its controlling
    factors in Alberta, Canada. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 6241-6255.
  13. A. Mukherjee*, S. N. Bhanja* and Y. Wada (2018). Groundwater depletion causing reduction of baseflow
    triggering Ganges river drying. Scientific Reports, 8, 12049. [*Joint first author]
  14. S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee, M. Rodell, Y. Wada, S. Chattopadhyay, I. Velicogna, K. Pangaluru, and J. S.
    Famiglietti (2017). Groundwater rejuvenation in parts of India influenced by water-policy change
    implementation. Scientific Reports, 7, 7453.
  15. M. Girotto, G. J. De Lannoy, R. H. Reichle, M. Rodell, C. Draper, S. N. Bhanja, and A. Mukherjee (2017). Benefits and pitfalls of GRACE data assimilation: A case study of terrestrial water storage depletion in India.
    Geophysical Research Letters, 44(9), 4107-4115. 
  16. S. N. Bhanja, M. Rodell, B. Li, D. Saha, A. Mukherjee (2017). Spatio-temporal variability of groundwater
    storage in India. Journal of Hydrology, 544, 428-437.
  17. S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee, D. Saha, I. Velicogna, and J. Famiglietti (2016). Validation of GRACE based
    groundwater storage anomaly using in-situ groundwater level measurements in India. Journal of Hydrology,
    543(B), 729–738. 
  18. A. Mukherjee, D. Saha, C. F. Harvey, R. G. Taylor, K. M. Ahmed and S. N. Bhanja (2015). Groundwater systems
    of the Indian Sub-Continent. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 4, 1-14. [I. F.: 5.44; Citations: 207]

Remote sensing applications in earth sciences

  1. S. Sarkar, A. Mukherjee, S. Duttagupta, S. N. Bhanja, A. Bhattacharya. Predicting Regional-Scale Elevated
    Groundwater Nitrate Contamination Risk Using Machine Learning on Natural and Human-Induced Factors
    (2022). ACS ES&T Engineering.
  2. S. Sarkar, A. Mukherjee, S. Duttagupta, S. N. Bhanja, A. Bhattacharya, S. Chakraborty (2021). Emerging
    spatiotemporal trends of groundwater nitrate pollution across India. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology.
  3. S. Duttagupta*, S. N. Bhanja*, A. Dutta*, S. Sarkar, M. Chakraborty, A. Ghosh, A. Mukherjee (2021). Impact of
    Covid-19 lockdown on river and groundwater-sourced drinking water sustainability in the arsenic-affected
    Ganges river basin. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6), 2832. 
  4. A. Singhal, S. Sahu, S. Chattopadhyay, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja (2020). Using night time lights to find
    regional inequality in India and its relationship with economic development. PLOS One, 15 (11), e0241907.
  5. S. Duttagupta, A. Mukherjee, S. N. Bhanja, S. Chattopadhyay, S. Sarkar, K. Das, S. Chakraborty, D. Mondal
    (2020). Achieving sustainable development goal for clean water in India: influence of natural and
    anthropogenic factors on groundwater microbial pollution. Environmental Management, 66, 742–755, 
  6. A. Mukherjee, S. Dutta Gupta, S. Chattopadhyay, S. N. Bhanja, A. Bhattachayra, S. Chakraborty, S. Sarkar, T.
    Ghosh, J. Bhattacharya, S. Sahu (2019). Impact of sanitation and socio-economy on groundwater fecal
    pollution and human health towards achieving sustainable development goals across India from ground observations and satellite-derived nightlight. Scientific Reports, 9, 15193 
  7. Y. Yoon, S. V. Kumar, B. A. Forman, B. Zaitchik, Y. Kwon, Y. Qian, S. Rupper, V. Maggioni, P. Houser, D.
    Kirschbaum, A. Richey, A. Arendt, D. Mocko, J. Jacob, S. N. Bhanja, A. Mukherjee (2019). Evaluating the
    uncertainty of terrestrial water budget components over High Mountain Asia. Frontiers of Earth Science, 7,
  8. S. Dutta Gupta, A. Bhattacharya, A. Mukherjee, S. Chattopadhyay, S. N. Bhanja, S. Sarkar, P. Malakar, J.
    Bhattacharya (2019). Groundwater faecal pollution observation in parts of Indo-Ganges-Brahmaputra river
    basin from in-situ measurements and satellite-based observations. Journal of Earth System Science, 128. 

Aerosols and climate change

  1. S. Verma, B. Priyadharshini, S. K. Pani, D. Bharath Kumar, A. R. Faruqi, S. N. Bhanja, M. Mandal (2016).
    Aerosol extinction properties over coastal West Bengal Gangetic plain under inter-seasonal and sea breeze
    influenced transport processes. Atmospheric Research, 167, 224-236. 
  2. S. Verma, S. N. Bhanja, A. Misra and S. K. Pani (2014). Aerosol optical and physical properties during winter
    monsoon pollution transport in an urban environment. Environmental science and pollution research, 21 (7),
  3. S. Verma, S. K. Pani and S. N. Bhanja (2013). Sources and Radiative Effects of Wintertime Black Carbon
    Aerosols in an urban atmosphere in east India. Chemosphere, 90, 260–269. [I. F.: 8.94; Citations: 41]