A hydrologic model was developed as part of the Southeast Regional Assessment Project using the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a deterministic, distributed-parameter, process-based system that simulates the effects of precipitation, temperature, and land use on basin hydrology. Streamflow and other components of the hydrologic cycle simulated by PRMS were used to inform other types of simulations such as water-temperature, hydrodynamic, and ecosystem-dynamics simulations.
Understanding How Climate and Land Use Change Will Impact Wetland-Dependent Birds: Are Waterfowl Effective Surrogates for Other Species?
The Prairie Pothole Region spans parts of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Iowa and south-central Canada and contains millions of wetlands that provide habitat for breeding and migrating birds. Because it is the continent’s most important breeding area for waterfowl, conservation and management largely focuses on protecting habitat for nesting ducks. However, other wetland-dependent birds also rely on this region, and it is important to understand the degree to which habitat conserved for ducks provides habitat for other species, and how the quality of this habitat will be affected by climate change. Project researchers tested whether waterfowl are effective representatives, or surrogates, for other wetland-dependent...
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the USGS integrated models of urbanization and vegetation dynamics with the regional climate models to predict vegetation dynamics and assess how landscape change could impact priority species, including North American land birds. This integrated ensemble of models can be used to predict locations where responses to climate change are most likely to occur, expressing results in terms of species persistence to help resource managers understand the long-term sustainability of bird populations.
A team of USGS and academic researchers developed a comprehensive web-based dataset of high-resolution (or ‘downscaled’) climate change projections, enabling scientists and decision-makers to better assess climate related ecosystem impacts. The research team implemented a three-part plan to provide high resolution climate data for the impact modeling community. First, a database was developed of up-to-date and state-of-the-art downscaled climate projections for the U.S., using a range of plausible future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Second, a series of workshops were held to solicit input about climate-related data needs and to discuss best practices for accessing and using downscaled climate projections....
The broad range of complex factors influencing coastal systems contribute to large uncertainties in predicting long-term sea level rise impacts. Researchers demonstrated the capabilities of a Bayesian network (BN) to predict long-term shoreline change associated with sea level rise and make quantitative assessments for predicting uncertainty. A BN was used to define relationships between driving forces, geologic constraints, and coastal response for the U.S. Atlantic coast that include observations of local rates of relative sea level rise, wave height, tide range, geomorphic classification, coastal slope, and shoreline change rate. The BN was used to make probabilistic predictions of shoreline retreat in response...
USGS researchers assessed how climate change can affect land cover and flow in river systems, examining a variety of resolutions for detecting and projecting the conditions of aquatic habitats and species.
Southeast Regional Assessment Project (SERAP): Assessing Global Change Impacts on Natural and Human Systems in the Southeast
The Southeastern United States spans a broad range of physiographic settings and maintains exceptionally high levels of faunal diversity. Unfortunately, many of these ecosystems are increasingly under threat due to rapid human development, and management agencies are increasingly aware of the potential effects that climate change will have on these ecosystems. Natural resource managers and conservation planners can be effective at preserving ecosystems in the face of these stressors only if they can adapt current conservation efforts to increase the overall resilience of the system. Climate change, in particular, challenges many of the basic assumptions used by conservation planners and managers. Previous conservation...
The USGS and South Atlantic LCC worked with stakeholders and managers across the Southeast to identify and assess landscape-level strategies for conserving multiple species. These strategies incorporated predictions from downscaled climate models, sea level rise, and changes to aquatic and terrestrial habitats.