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

This proposal seeks to improve our understanding of how upland landscapes and coastal waters, which are connected by watersheds, respond to changes in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles resulting from changes in climate, local weather patterns, and land use. Our group brings together research expertise from a diversity of fields that includes climate modeling, land surface modeling, remote sensing analysis, biogeochemical cycling, surface hydrology, estuary ecology, and coastal biogeochemistry. We will utilize and expand our multi-scale and multi-disciplinary earth system modeling framework developed under the current NASA IDS project that includes a regional climate model (WRF) nested within a global climate model (CCSM), an improved land surface (energy and water balance) model with multi-physics options (Noah-MP), a newly developed river routing model (RAPID) in conjunction with NHDPlus datasets and parallel computing, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem models. We will extend this framework to include a mesoscale meteorological model with online chemistry (WRF-CHEM) to address the biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of momentum, energy, water, and other materials, taking full advantage of satellite datasets such as the land use and land cover change, the burned area, surface albedo, trace gases and aerosols. WRF-CHEM can also compute dry and wet deposition of nitrogen (N) species and other pollutants, providing important input to watershed N budgets, riverine N exports, and the N balance in the coastal waters. Our modeling domain will cover the contiguous United States and the surrounding oceans, especially the Gulf of Mexico. We focus on two main time periods: 2001-2008 and 2051-2058. In the first period, we use models constrained by satellite and other NASA products (such as the North America Land Data Assimilation System datasets and MODIS MOD14 Thermal Anomalies-Fire Products) to address the environmental impacts. We will use seven watershed-estuary systems that span a range of precipitation and land use patterns across Texas to calibrate and test our modeling capabilities with respect to watershed runoff production, river flow, nutrient export, and estuarine ecosystem functioning in the western Gulf of Mexico. For these systems, we will expand our ongoing water chemistry data collection effort, which emphasizes characterization of storm events, by using an innovative community approach. In the 2nd period, we will address the environmental effects of the future climate change. We will concentrate on the following specific questions: 1. What are the entire pathways of particulates and solutes from the atmosphere through terrestrial and riverine environments to the coastal waters in the west Gulf of Mexico? 2. How are these pathways affected by climate change and land use change? 3. What are the effects of atmospheric dry and wet N deposition on riverine N exports and estuarine ecosystem functions? 4. What are the effects of changing climate and land use on terrestrial runoff and associated nutrient export to and availability within ocean margin waters? This project is submitted in direct response to the NASA IDS Subelement 2 "Impacts of Varying or Changing Climate, Local Weather, and Land Use on Watersheds and their Connected Coastal Environments." The proposed research topics are identified as emerging science areas in the Strategic Plan of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, the CCSP Revised Research Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. Our results will also provide inputs for, or promote the development of, models that advance our understanding of important aspects of the Earth system.

PI: Zong-Liang Yang / University of Texas at Austin

Department of Geological Sciences #C1100 University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 78712-0254

Phone: 512-471-3824 Fax: 512-471-9425



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Started: Sep 29, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 07, 2010


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