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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

This proposal addresses the sensitivity and adaptability of the African savannas to climate and population changes. The project is designed to combine large-scale process models with remotely sensed data to understand past changes and to project future changes. Novel aspects include a large-scale coupling of a hydrological model with a mechanistic vegetation dynamics model, and the assimilation of multiple remote sensing data products for optimal estimates of soil moisture, tree cover, and grass cover. The study is focused on a region with a remarkable range of mean annual precipitation (200 mm to > 1000 mm), thus supporting analysis of sensitivity of the savanna structure and services to climate and human disturbances over a wide range of conditions. The study domain is approximately 7Deg wide (E-W) and 28Deg long, running southwest from the Ethiopia-Kenya border (4Deg N) to the Botswana-South Africa border (24Deg S), covering an area of approximately 2.4 million km^2 (including large parts of Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana). The investigators form an interdisciplinary team with experience in land-atmosphere interaction and savanna vegetation dynamics modeling (Albertson), large-scale hydrological modeling and remote sensing (Wood), terrestrial ecology and African land use impacts (Shugart), and optimal control approaches for data assimilation (Ferrari). The team also has a strong history of success in semi-arid research, including multiple field experiments and modeling studies in Africa (e.g. SAFARI 2000). In addition to peer-reviewed publications, the project will culminate in a workshop to foster a dialogue on the inherent tradeoffs between climate changes in semi-arid regions and sustainable demographic trends (e.g. Rural land use). This is to include training sessions for social scientists on the use of the merged remote sensing - model system as a decision support tool in designing national and regional economic development plans.

Project PI: John Albertson/Duke University

Civil and Environmental Engineering Duke University Durham, NC 27708-0287

Email: john.albertson@duke.edu

http://albertson.cee.duke.edu/

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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 09, 2010

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