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Abstract (from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1873965215000110): The goal of this study was to assess the importance of the 2007 sea ice retreat for hydrologic conditions on the Alaskan North Slope, and how this may have influenced the outbreak of tundra fires in this region. This study concentrates on two years, 2007 and 1996, with different arctic sea ice conditions and tundra fire activity. The year of 2007 is characterized by a low summer sea ice extent (second lowest) and high tundra fire activity, while 1996 had high sea ice extent, and few tundra fires. Atmospheric lateral boundary forcing from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis drove the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model, along with varying...
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of native species that have been subject to numerous threats including development of habitat for human use, predation by introduced herbivores, and competition with invasive plant species. In addition to these threats global climate change is expected to increase temperature and alter patterns of precipitation in Hawaii. This project models the relative vulnerability of native plant species to the effects of climate change, in order to assist resource managers in effectively allocating limited resources to efficiently preserve and protect current and future habitat for native plants. We modeled vulnerability by creating an expert system – a network model linking biological...
Abstract (from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-13-00202.1): Traditional long-term (decadal) and large-scale (hundreds of kilometers) shoreline change modeling techniques, known as single transect, or ST, often overfit the data because they calculate shoreline statistics at closely spaced intervals along the shore. To reduce overfitting, recent work has used spatial basis functions such as polynomials, B splines, and principal components. Here, we explore an alternative to such basis functions by using regularization to reduce the dimension of the ST model space. In our regularized-ST method, traditional ST is an end member of a continuous spectrum of models. We use an evidence information criterion...
Abstract: P-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data at 5 m resolution from Kahiltna Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alaska Range, Alaska, USA, show pronounced spatial variation in penetration depth, δ P. We obtained δ P by differencing X- and P-band digital elevation models. δ P varied significantly over the glacier, but it was possible to distinguish representative zones. In the accumulation area, δ P decreased with decreasing elevation from 18±3 m in the percolation zone to 10±4 m in the wet snow zone. In the central portion of the ablation area, a location free of debris and crevasses, we identified a zone of very high δ P (34±4 m) which decreased at lower elevations (23±3 m in bare ice...
Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0088.1): A comprehensive understanding of the spatial, seasonal, and diurnal patterns in cloud cover frequency over the Hawaiian Islands was developed using high-resolution image data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The Terra and Aqua MODIS cloud mask products, which provide the confidence that a given 1-km pixel is unobstructed by cloud, were obtained for the entire MODIS time series (10-plus years) over the main Hawaiian Islands. Monthly statistics were generated from the daily cloud mask data, including mean cloud cover...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12875/abstract): Permafrost thaw can alter the soil environment through changes in soil moisture, frequently resulting in soil saturation, a shift to anaerobic decomposition, and changes in the plant community. These changes, along with thawing of previously frozen organic material, can alter the form and magnitude of greenhouse gas production from permafrost ecosystems. We synthesized existing methane (CH 4) and carbon dioxide (CO 2) production measurements from anaerobic incubations of boreal and tundra soils from the geographic permafrost region to evaluate large-scale controls of anaerobic CO 2 and CH 4 production and compare the relative importance...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000479/full): Glacier hypsometry provides a first-order approach for assessing a glacier's response to climate forcings. We couple the Randolph Glacier Inventory to a suite of in situ observations and climate model output to examine potential change for the ∼27,000 glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada through the end of the 21st century. By 2100, based on Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5–8.5 forcings, summer temperatures are predicted to increase between +2.1 and +4.6°C, while solid precipitation (snow) is predicted to decrease by −6 to −11%, despite a +9 to +21% increase in total precipitation. Snow is predicted to undergo a pronounced...
Abstract (from http://climatechangeresponses.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40665-016-0015-2): Background Detailed assessments of species responses to climate change are uncommon, owing to the limited nature of most ecological and local climate data sets. Exceptions, such as the case of the Haleakalā silversword, can provide important insights into the complexity of biological responses to changing climate conditions. We present a time series of decadal population censuses, combined with a pair of early population projections, which together span the past 80 years of demographic history for this alpine plant. Results The time series suggests a strong population recovery from the 1930s through the 1980s, likely...
A cocktail of land-based sources of pollution threatens coral reef ecosystems, and addressing these has become a key management and policy challenge in the State of Hawaii, other US territories, and globally. In West Maui, Hawai'i, nearly one quarter of all living corals were lost between 1995 and 2008. Onsite disposal systems (OSDS) for sewage leak contaminants into drinking water sources and nearshore waters. In recognition of this risk, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is prioritizing areas for cesspool upgrades. Independently, we applied a decision analysis process to identify priority areas to address sewage pollution from OSDS in West Maui, with the objective of reducing nearshore coral reef exposure...
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative and the Southeast Climate Science Center developed a new resource - Keeping Pace: A short guide to navigating sea-level rise models! This quick four pager covers the importance of model selection, helpful concepts, model categories, and an example of how to utilize these models to address coastal issues. This resource was largely informed by the Sea-Level Rise Modeling Handbook: Resource Guide for Coastal Land Managers, Engineers, and Scientists, which resulted from a Southeast CSC funded project.
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0173844): Urban habitats are characterized by impervious surfaces, which increase temperatures and reduce water availability to plants. The effects of these conditions on herbivorous insects are not well understood, but may provide insight into future conditions. Three primary hypotheses have been proposed to explain why multiple herbivorous arthropods are more abundant and damaging in cities, and support has been found for each. First, less complex vegetation may reduce biological control of pests. Second, plant stress can increase plant quality for pests. And third, urban warming can directly increase pest fitness and abundance. These...
Efforts to conserve stream and river biota could benefit from tools that allow managers to evaluate landscape-scale changes in species distributions in response to water management decisions. We present a framework and methods for integrating hydrology, geographic context and metapopulation processes to simulate effects of changes in streamflow on fish occupancy dynamics across a landscape of interconnected stream segments. We illustrate this approach using a 482 km2 catchment in the southeastern US supporting 50 or more stream fish species. A spatially distributed, deterministic and physically based hydrologic model is used to simulate daily streamflow for sub-basins composing the catchment. We use geographic data...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1752-1688.12304/abstract): The hydrologic response to statistically downscaled general circulation model simulations of daily surface climate and land cover through 2099 was assessed for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin located in the southeastern United States. Projections of climate, urbanization, vegetation, and surface-depression storage capacity were used as inputs to the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System to simulate projected impacts on hydrologic response. Surface runoff substantially increased when land cover change was applied. However, once the surface depression storage was added to mitigate the land cover change and increases...
Population changes and shifts in geographic range boundaries induced by climate change have been documented for many insect species. On the basis of such studies, ecological forecasting models predict that, in the absence of dispersal and resource barriers, many species will exhibit large shifts in abundance and geographic range in response to warming. However, species are composed of individual populations, which may be subject to different selection pressures and therefore may be differentially responsive to environmental change. Asystematic responses across populations and species to warming will alter ecological communities differently across space. Common garden experiments can provide a more mechanistic understanding...
Abstract (from http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/11-2296.1): Physiological tolerance of environmental conditions can influence species-level responses to climate change. Here, we used species-specific thermal tolerances to predict the community responses of ant species to experimental forest-floor warming at the northern and southern boundaries of temperate hardwood forests in eastern North America. We then compared the predictive ability of thermal tolerance vs. correlative species distribution models (SDMs) which are popular forecasting tools for modeling the effects of climate change. Thermal tolerances predicted the responses of 19 ant species to experimental climate warming at the southern site,...
We developed a spatially explicit model that simulated future southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis, SPB) dynamics and pine forest management for a real landscape over 60 years to inform regional forest management. The SPB has a considerable effect on forest dynamics in the Southeastern United States, especially in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands that are managed for timber production. Regional outbreaks of SPB occur in bursts resulting in elimination of entire stands and major economic loss. These outbreaks are often interspersed with decades of inactivity, making long-term modeling of SPB dynamics challenging. Forest management techniques, including thinning, have proven effective and are often recommended...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect ) Ecosystem accounts, as formalized by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA), have been compiled in a number of countries, yet there have been few attempts to develop them for the U.S. We explore the potential for U.S. ecosystem accounting by compiling ecosystem extent, condition, and ecosystem services supply and use accounts for a 10-state region in the Southeast. The pilot accounts address air quality, water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage, recreation, and pollination for selected years from 2001 to 2015. Results illustrate how information from ecosystem accounts can contribute to policy and decision making. Using an example...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.10964/abstract): While the effects of land use change in urban areas have been widely examined, the combined effects of climate and land use change on the quality of urban and urbanizing streams have received much less attention. We describe a modelling framework that is applicable to the evaluation of potential changes in urban water quality and associated hydrologic changes in response to ongoing climate and landscape alteration. The grid-based spatially distributed model, Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model-Water Quality (DHSVM-WQ), is an outgrowth of DHSVM that incorporates modules for assessing hydrology and water quality in urbanized watersheds...