Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems, Climate Variability & Change

The overall goal of this project is to investigate the impact of climate variability, climate change, and land-cover/land-use change (LCLUC) on the transport and cycling of carbon and nitrogen to and within the coastal ocean margins. This goal will be achieved by linking an ocean biogeochemical-circulation model of the Northeastern North American continental shelf (NENA) to a Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model (DLEM). Both models will be initialized, forced and evaluated with a large suite of satellite data products. Three interconnected research questions will be addressed in the proposed work: 1) how do extreme climate events (floods, droughts) and climate change (temperature, precipitation, solar radiation) affect the magnitude and seasonality of river discharge, and transports of carbon and nitrogen from upland landscapes to the continental margin; 2) what are the impacts of these changes in terrestrial runoff on ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling within the continental margin and on cross-shelf nutrient and carbon fluxes; and 3) how will projected land use, climate variability, and climate change influence carbon and nitrogen cycling in the US eastern coastal ocean margins through changing the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems in major watersheds on time scales of a century from now? These research questions will be addressed with an integrated modeling and data analysis approach. Much of the development and evaluation of the terrestrial (DLEM) and coastal ocean (NENA) models has been accomplished through prior activities, and thus the emphasis now is to couple the models and initiate coupled land-ocean simulations to address our interdisciplinary research questions. Our research team has extensive expertise in remote sensing and in situ data analysis, numerical modeling, data assimilation techniques, watershed modeling, terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, regional climate change, as well as considerable knowledge of the physics and biogeochemistry of the US eastern continental shelf. This range of expertise and disciplines is needed to address the complex interdisciplinary research questions proposed in this study. The activities proposed here respond to Subelement 2 under the ROSES 2009 A.22 Interdisciplinary Research (IDS) in Earth Science: "Impacts of Varying or Changing Climate, Local Weather, and Land Use on Watersheds and their Connected Coastal Environments". Our work directly contributes to an IDS program overarching goal: to better understand the specific effects of changes in climate and land use practices on the terrestrial environment, and to follow the biological and biogeochemical impacts of these changes to the coastal zone. The proposed work will enhance the application of satellite remote sensing, coupled models, and field observations to upland and coastal ecosystems and ultimately advance understanding of biogeochemical cycles across and within the land-ocean margin. By studying how climate variability, climate change and land-cover/land-use change influence and alter ecosystem and carbon cycle dynamics across and within the land-ocean margin, we can begin to understand how ecosystems and the carbon cycle may change in the future.

PI: Marjorie Friedrichs/Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Virginia Institute of Marine Science
College of William and Mary Gloucester Point VA, 23062-1346

Phone: (804) 684-7695



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Started: Sep 29, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 07, 2010


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