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Abstract: We present an inverse modeling approach for reconstructing the effective thermal conductivity of snow on a daily basis using air temperature, ground temperature and snow depth measurements. The method is applied to four sites in Alaska. To validate the method we used measured snow densities and snow water equivalents. The modeled thermal conductivities of snow for the two interior Alaska sites have relatively low values and reach their maximum near the end of the snow season, while the conductivities at the two sites on the Alaskan North Slope are higher and reach their maximum earlier in the snow season. We show that the reconstructed daily thermal conductivities allow for more accurate modeling of ground...
The U.S. Great Plains is known for frequent hazardous convective weather and climate extremes. Across this region, climate change is expected to cause more severe droughts, more intense heavy rainfall events, and subsequently more flooding episodes. These potential changes in climate will adversely affect habitats, ecosystems, and landscapes as well as the fish and wildlife they support. Better understanding and simulation of regional precipitation can help natural resource managers mitigate and adapt to these adverse impacts. In this project, we aim to achieve a better precipitation downscaling in the Great Plains with the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model and use the high quality dynamic downscaling results...
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Global climate models (GCMs) are a tool used to model historical climate and project future conditions. In order to apply these global-scale datasets to answer local- and regional-scale climate questions, GCMs undergo a process known as “downscaling”. Since there are many different approaches to downscaling there associated sources of uncertainty; however, downscaled data can be highly valuable for management decision-making if used with a knowledge of its limitations and appropriate applications. In order to use downscaled data appropriately, scientists and managers need to understand how the climate projections made by various downscaling methods are affected by uncertainties in the climate system (such as greenhouse...
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Across the Southern Great Plains, increasing temperatures are expected to alter the hydrological functioning of the region by contributing to severe droughts, more intense rainfall events, and more severe flooding episodes. These changes could adversely affect human and ecological communities. The ability to better predict future changes in precipitation and the response of hydrologic systems in the region could help mitigate their negative impacts. Yet while today’s global climate models provide large-scale projections of future temperature and precipitation patterns that can be broadly useful for large-scale water resource planning, they are often not appropriate for use at a smaller, more local scale. This research...
Clouds often come in contact with vegetation (often named fogs) within a certain elevation range on Hawaii’s mountains. Propelled by strong winds, cloud droplets are driven onto the stems and leaves of plants where they are deposited. Some of the water that accumulates on the plants in this way drips to the ground, adding additional water over and above the water supplied by rainfall. Prior observations show that the amount of cloud water intercepted by vegetation is substantial, but also quite variable from place to place. It is, therefore, important to create a map for the complex spatial patterns of cloud water interception (CWI) in Hawaii. In this project, we created the CWI map at 0.8-km resolution based on...
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Understanding how snow will change over the coming century is vital in understanding environmental changes across Alaska. Changes in snow are also economically important to many sectors, from recreation to commercial fishing. An earlier set of rain-snow partitioning and snowfall equivalent projections based on downscaled CMIP3 temperature and precipitation projections have been used extensively. In this project, we developed updated projections for the fraction of precipitation days that are snowy (vs. rainy) and the amount of precipitation that likely falls as snow to be consistent with the newest downscaled temperature and precipitation released by SNAP. The outputs are decadal monthly averages. The updated snow...
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In the southwestern United States, droughts of 10 or more years are projected to become more frequent by 2100. It also is projected that there will be fewer wet days per year, with more precipitation falling on those wet days. Such climatic extremes can strongly affect wild animals and plants, ecosystems, and humans. In the Southwest, more frequent and intense storms may negatively affect protected species in coastal salt marshes; changes in the timing and amount of precipitation could lead to increases in fuel loads; and increasingly humid heat waves could lead to higher incidence of heat-related illness among visitors to national parks. This project will improve understanding of climate extremes and their potential...


    map background search result map search result map Improving Understanding of Climate Extremes in the Southwestern United States Developing and Analyzing Statistically Downscaled Climate Projections for the South Central U.S. Informing Hydrologic Planning in the Red River Valley through Improved Regional Climate Projections The Effect of Snow: How to Better Model Ground Surface Temperatures Alaska Snowpack Response to Climate Change: Statewide Snowfall Equivalent and Snowpack Water Scenarios The Effect of Snow: How to Better Model Ground Surface Temperatures Improving Understanding of Climate Extremes in the Southwestern United States Developing and Analyzing Statistically Downscaled Climate Projections for the South Central U.S. Informing Hydrologic Planning in the Red River Valley through Improved Regional Climate Projections Alaska Snowpack Response to Climate Change: Statewide Snowfall Equivalent and Snowpack Water Scenarios