Modeling Coupled Climate and Urban Land Use Change in the Eastern United States

shared by Cristina Milesi on Mar 28, 2011


Urban land cover and associated impervious surface area (ISA) are expected to increase by as much as 50% over the next few decades across substantial portions of the coterminous U.S. In combination with urban expansion, changes in temperature and precipitation are expected to impact ecosystems through changes in productivity, disturbance and hydrological properties. In this study, we use land cover predictions from the Spatially Explicit Regional Growth Model (SERGoM) model through the year 2100 and an ensemble of climate projections (Bias Corrected and Downscaled WCRP CMIP3) for large watersheds of the eastern United States to explore the impacts of urbanization and climate change on hydrologic dynamics (runoff) and vegetation carbon uptake (gross productivity). We use the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS), an ecosystem modeling framework, to simulate the influence of these changes, as well as potential adaptation actions associated with land use. We describe the modeling approach, and results from initial modeling experiments to quantify the component and cumulative impacts of climate and land use changes forecast to occur in the region. We also describe our approach to characterizing the mitigation potential of various best management practices for land use planning, such as urban afforestation and replacement of asphalt with permeable surfaces.


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