Climate Research and Development ProgramClimate R&D Program
Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB)
The USGS Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) project was launched in 1991 with five sites in ecosystems ranging from tropical rainforest to alpine tundra. Our research centers on three themes: (1) observation of hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes across contrasting landscapes and analysis of how these fundamentally important cycles respond to climate variability and landscape change; (2) enhanced measurement of organic and inorganic carbon (C) fluxes in aquatic environments, using continuous in-stream sensors coupled with conventional sampling and lab analysis, to foster improved understanding of the role of freshwater carbon fluxes in the global carbon budget; and (3), synthesis of WEBB measurements and understanding of water budget components to develop models to predict potential changes in water availability in response to climate change.
Why is this research important?
Since its inception, the objective of the WEBB project has been to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research to improve understanding of processes controlling exchange of water, energy, and solutes among atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. The WEBB program uses the "small watershed approach", which takes advantage of well-defined hydrologic inputs and outputs and well-quantified basin characteristics of small watersheds to develop the critical link between plot-scale studies and large regional surveys and monitoring programs. This link then supports the effort to inform the public, government and land managers on the issues facing water supplies and provides them with the specifics needed to perform the needed action.
Project Leads: Brent Aulenbach, David Clow, Sheila Murphy, Martha Scholl, Jamie Shanley, John Walker, Kim Wickland
Project Team: Ann Chalmers, John Crawford, Krista Hood, Randy Hunt, Alisa Mast, Manuel Rosario, Graham Sexstone, Elliott Stahl, Angel Torres, George Aiken, Rob Striegl, Mark Dornblaser, Colin Penn, Anna Mckee, Jeff Riley
Ali, G., Tetzlaff, D., Kruitbos, L., Soulsby, C., Carey, S., McDonnell, J., Buttle, J., Laudon, H., Seibert, J., and McGuire, K., 2014, Analysis of hydrological seasonality across northern catchments using monthly precipitation-runoff polygon metrics: Hydrological Sciences Journal, v. 59, no. 1, p. 56-72.
Butnor, J.R., Campbell, J.L., Shanley, J.B., and Zarnoch, S.J., 2014, Measuring soil frost depth in forest ecosystems with ground penetrating radar: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, v. 192, p. 121-131.
Crawford, J.T., Lottig, N.R., Stanley, E.H., Walker, J.F., Hanson, P.C., Finlay, J.C., and Striegl, R.G., 2014, CO2 and CH4 emissions from streams in a lake-rich landscape: Patterns, controls, and regional significance: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, v. 28, no. 3, p. 197-210.
Marin-Spiotta, E., Gruley, K., Crawford, J., Atkinson, E., Miesel, J., Greene, S., Cardona-Correa, C., and Spencer, R., 2014, Paradigm shifts in soil organic matter research affect interpretations of aquatic carbon cycling: transcending disciplinary and ecosystem boundaries: Biogeochemistry, v. 117, no. 2-3, p. 279-297.
Mast, M.A., Clow, D.W., Baron, J.S., and Wetherbee, G.A., 2014, Links between N Deposition and Nitrate Export from a High-Elevation Watershed in the Colorado Front Range: Environmental Science & Technology, v. 48, no. 24, p. 14258-14265.
Peters, N.E., Burns, D.A., and Aulenbach, B.T., 2014, Evaluation of high-frequency mean streamwater transit-time estimates using groundwater age and dissolved silica concentrations in a small forested watershed: Aquatic Geochemistry, v. 20, no, 2-3, p. 183-202.
Rice, K.C., Scanlon, T.M., Lynch, J.A., and Cosby, B.J., 2014, Decreased atmospheric sulfur deposition across the southeastern US: when will watersheds release stored sulfate?: Environmental Science & Technology, v. 48, no. 17, p. 10071-10078.
Rose, L.A., Sebestyen, S.D., Elliott, E.M., and Koba, K., 2014, Drivers of atmospheric nitrate processing and export in forested catchments: Water Resources Research, v. 51, no. 2, p. 1333-1352.
Sebestyen, S.D., Shanley, J.B., Boyer, E.W., Kendall, C., and Doctor, D.H., 2014, Coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes controlling variability of nitrogen species in streamflow during autumn in an upland forest: Water Resources Research, v. 50, no. 2, p. 1569-1591.
Shanley, J.B., Sebestyen, S.D., McDonnell, J.J., McGlynn, B.L., and Dunne, T., 2014, Water's Way at Sleepers River watershed-revisiting flow generation in a post-glacial landscape, Vermont USA: Hydrological Processes. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10377.
Stallard, R.F., and Murphy, S.F., 2014, A Unified Assessment of Hydrologic and Biogeochemical Responses in Research Watersheds in Eastern Puerto Rico Using Runoff-Concentration Relations: Aquatic Geochemistry, v. 20, no. 2-3, p. 115-139.
Aulenbach, B., 2013, Improving regression-model-based streamwater constituent load estimates derived from serially correlated data: Journal of Hydrology, v. 503, p. 55-66.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.09.001
Buss, H.L., Brantley, S.L., Scatena, F.N., Bazilievskaya, E.A., Blum, A., Schulz, M., Jimenez, R., White, A.F., Rother, G., Cole, D., 2013, Probing the deep critical zone beneath the Luquillo experimental forest, Puerto Rico: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 38, no. 10, p. 1170-1186.
Crawford, J.T., Striegl, R.G., Wickland, K.P., Dornblaser, M.M., and Stanley, E.H., 2013, Emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from a headwater stream network of interior Alaska: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, v. 118, no. 2, p. 482-494,
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/jgrg.20034
Laudon, H., Tetzlaff, D., Soulsby, C., Carey, S., Seibert, J., Buttle, J., Shanley, J., McDonnell, J.J., and McGuire, K., 2013, Change in winter climate will affect dissolved organic carbon and water fluxes in mid-to-high latitude catchments: Hydrological Processes, v. 27, no. 5, p. 700-709.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/hyp.9686
Mast, M.A., 2013, Evaluation of stream chemistry trends in US Geological Survey reference watersheds, 1970-2010: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 185, no. 11, p. 9343-9359.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s10661-013-3256-6
Mast, M.A., and Ely, D., 2013, Effect of power plant emission reductions on a nearby wilderness area: a case study in northwestern Colorado: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 185, no. 9, p. 7081-7095.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s10661-013-3086-6
Rhoades, C.C., McCutchan, J.H., Cooper, L.A., Clow, D., Detmer, T.M., Briggs, J.S., Stednick, J.D., Veblen, T.T., Ertz, R.M., Likens, G.E., and Lewis, W.M., 2013, Biogeochemistry of beetle-killed forests: Explaining a weak nitrate response: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 110, no. 5, p. 1756-1760.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1073/pnas.1221029110
Tetzlaff, D., Soulsby, C., Buttle, J., Capell, R., Carey, S.K., Laudon, H., McDonnell, J., McGuire, K., Seibert, S., and Shanley, J., 2013, Catchments on the cusp? Structural and functional change in northern ecohydrology: Hydrological Processes, v. 27, no. 5, p. 766-774.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/hyp.9700
Clow, D.W., Nanus, L., Verdin, K.L., and Schmidt, J., 2012, Evaluation of SNODAS snow depth and snow water equivalent estimates for the Colorado Rocky Mountains, USA: Hydrological Processes, v. 26, no. 17, p. 2583-2591.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.9385
Jones, J.A., Creed, I.F., Hatcher, K.L., Warren, R.J., Adams, M.B., Benson, M.H., Boose, E., Brown, W.A., Campbell, J.L., Covich, A., Clow, D.W., Dahm, C.N., Elder, K., Ford, C.R., Grimm, N.B., Henshaw, D.L., Larson, K.L., Miles, E.S., Miles, K.M., Sebestyen, S.D., Spargo, A.T., Stone, A.B., Vose, J.M., and and Mark, W.W., 2012, Ecosystem Processes and Human Influences Regulate Streamflow Response to Climate Change at Long-Term Ecological Research Sites: BioScience, v. 62, no. 4, p. 390-404.
Kerr, J.G., Eimers, M.C., Creed, I.F., Adams, M.B., Beall, F., Burns, D., Campbell, J.L., Christopher, S.F., Clair, T.A., Courchesne, F., Duchesne, L., Fernandez, I., Houle, D., Jeffries, D.S., Likens, G.E., Mitchell, M.J., Shanley, J. and Yao, H., 2012, The effect of seasonal drying on sulphate dynamics in streams across southeastern Canada and the northeastern USA: Biogeochemistry, v. 111, p. 393-409.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10533-011-9664-1
Kram P., Hruska, J., and Shanley, J.B., 2012, Streamwater chemistry in three contrasting monolithologic Czech catchments: Applied Geochemistry, v. 27, p. 1854-1863.
Kruitbos, L., Tetzlaff, D., Soulsby, C., Buttle, J., Carey, S., Laudon, H., McDonnell, J., McGuire, K., Seibert, J., Cunjak, R., and Shanley, J., 2012, Hydroclimatic and hydrochemical controls on Plecoptera diversity and distribution in northern freshwater ecosystems: Hydrobiologia, v. 693, p. 39-53.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-012-1085-1
Larsen M.C., Liu, Z., Zou, X., 2012, Effects of earthworms on slopewash, surface runoff, and fine-litter transport on a humid tropical forested hillslope, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico - Chapter G, in Murphy, S.F., and Stallard, R.F., Editors, Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-G, p. 179-197.
Larsen, M.C., 2012, Landslides and sediment budgets in four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico - Chapter F, in Murphy, S.F., and Stallard, R.F., Editors, Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-F, p. 153-178.
Laudon, H., Buttle, J., Carey, S.K., McDonnell, J., McGuire, K., Seibert, J., Shanley, J., Soulsby, C., and Tetzlaff, D., 2012, Cross-regional prediction of long-term trajectory of stream water DOC response to climate change: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 39, p. L18404.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012GL053033
Markstrom, S.L., Hay, L.E., Ward-Garrison, C.D., Risley, J.C., Battaglin, W.A., Bjerklie, D.M., Chase, K.J., Christiansen, D.E., Dudley, R.W., Hunt, R.J., Koczot, K.M., Mastin, M.C., Regan, R.S., Viger, R.J., Vining, K.C., and Walker, J.F., 2012, Integrated watershed-scale response to climate change for selected basins across the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5077, 143 p.
Mast, M.A., Alvarez, D.A., and Zaugg, S.D., 2012, Deposition and accumulation of airborne organic contaminants in Yosemite National Park, California: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 31, no. 3, p. 524-533.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.1727
Mitchell, M., Lovett, G., Bailey, S., Beall, F., Burns, D., Buso, D., Clair, T., Courchesne, F., Duchesne, L., Eimers, C., Fernandez, I., Houle, D., Jeffries, D., Likens, G., Moran, M., Rogers, C., Schwede, D., Shanley, J., Weathers, K., and Vet, R., 2012, Comparisons of watershed sulfur budgets in southeast Canada and northeast US: new approaches and implications: Biogeochemistry, v. 103, no. 1-3, p. 181-207.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10533-010-9455-0
Moore, J., Lichtner, P.C., White, A.F., Brantley, S.L. 2012, Using a reactive transport model to elucidate differences between laboratory and field dissolution rates in regolith: Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, v. 93, p. 235-261.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2012.03.021
Murphy, S.F., Stallard, R.F., Larsen, M.C., and Gould, W.A., 2012, Physiography, geology, and land cover of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico - Chapter A, in Murphy, S.F. and Stallard, R.F., eds., Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-A, p. 1-24.
Nanus, L., Clow, D.W., Saros, J.E., Stephens, V.C., and Campbell, D.H., 2012, Mapping critical loads of nitrogen deposition for aquatic ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains, USA: Environmental Pollution, v. 166, p. 125-135.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2012.03.019
Pellerin, B.A., Saraceno, J.F. , Shanley, J.B., Sebestyen, S.D., Aiken, G.R., Wollheim, W.M., and Bergamashi, B.A., 2012, Taking the pulse of snowmelt: in situ sensors reveal seasonal, event and diurnal patterns of nitrate and dissolved organic matter variability in an upland forest stream: Biogeochemistry, v. 108, p. 183-198.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10533-011-9589-8
Ross, D.S., Shanley, J.B., Campbell, J.L., Lawrence, G.B., Bailey, S.W., Likens, G.E., Wemple, B.C., Fredriksen, G. and Jamison, A.E., 2012, Spatial patterns of soil nitrification and nitrate export from forested headwaters in the northeastern United States: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 117, G01009.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JG001740
Shanley J. B. and Chalmers, A., 2012, Streamwater fluxes of mercury and methylmercury into and out of Lake Champlain: Environmental Pollution, v. 161, p. 311-320.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2011.07.006
Stallard, R.F., 2012, Atmospheric inputs to watersheds of the Luquillo Mountains in eastern Puerto Rico?- Chapter D, in Murphy, S.F., and Stallard, R.F., Editors, Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-D, p. 85-112.
Stallard, R.F., 2012, Weathering, landscape equilibrium, and carbon in four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico?- Chapter H, in Murphy, S.F., and Stallard, R.F. , Editors, Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-H, p. 199-248.
Stallard, R.F., and Murphy, S.F., 2012, Water quality and mass transport in four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico?- Chapter. E, in Murphy, S.F., and Stallard, R.F., eds., Water quality and landscape processes of four watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1789-E, p. 113-152.
Clow, D.W., Rhoades, C., Briggs, J., Caldwell, M., and Lewis, W.M., 2011, Responses of soil and water chemistry to mountain pine beetle induced tree mortality in Grand County, Colorado, USA: Applied Geochemistry, v. 26, p. S174-S178.
Hunt, R.J., and Doherty, J., 2011, Interesting or important? Resetting the balance of theory and application: Groundwater, v. 49, no. 3, p. 301-301.
Markstrom, S.L., Hay, L.E., Ward-Garrison, C., Risley, J.C., Battaglin, W.A., Bjerkle, D.M., Chase, K.J., Christianson, D.E., Dudley, R.W., Hunt, R.J., Koczot, K.M., Mastin, M.C., Regan, R.S., Viger, R.L., Vining, K.C., and Walker, J.F., 2011, Integrated watershed scale response to climate change for selected basins across the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5077.
McNamara, J.P., Tetzlaff, D., Bishop, K., Soulsby, C., Seyfried, M., Peters, N.E., Aulenbach, B.T., and Hooper, R., 2011, Storage as a metric of catchment comparison: Hydrological Processes, v. 25, no. 21, p. 3364-3371.
Peters, N., B?hlke, J., Brooks, P., Burt, T., Gooseff, M., Hamilton, D., Mulholland, P., Roulet, N., and Turner, J., 2011, Hydrology and biogeochemistry linkages: Treatise on water science: Oxford, Academic Press, p. 271-304.
Peters, N.E., Krysanova, V., Lepisto, A., Prasad, R., Thoms, M., Wilby, R., Zandaryaa, S. eds., 2011, Water quality: Current trends and expected climate change impacts: IAHS Publication 348, 186 p.
Shanley, J.B., McDowell, W.H., and Stallard, R.F., 2011, Long-term patterns and short-term dynamics of stream solutes and suspended sediment in a rapidly weathering tropical watershed: Water Resources Research, v. 47, no. 7.
Stallard, R.F., 2011, Weathering, landscape, and carbon in four paired research watersheds in eastern Puerto Rico: Applied Geochemistry, v. 26, p. S370-S372.
Walker, J.F., Hay, L.E., Markstrom, S.L., and Dettinger, M.D., 2011, Characterizing climate-change impacts on the 1.5-yr flood flow in selected basins across the United States: A probabilistic approach: Earth Interactions, v. 15, no. 18, p. 1-16.
Webb, R.M., Sandstrom, M.W., Krutz, L.J., and Shaner, D.L., 2011, Simulation of branched serial first-order decay of atrazine and metabolites in adapted and nonadapted soils: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 30, no. 9, p. 1973-1981.
Webb, R.M.T., Mast, M.A., Manning, A.H., Clow, D.W., Campbell, D.H., 2011, Potential Climate Change Effects on Water Tables and Pyrite Oxidation in Headwater Catchments in Colorado, in Medley, C.N., Patterson, Glenn, and Parker, M.J., eds., Observing, studying, and managing for change - Proceedings of the Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5169, p. 23-33.