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Simulated Soil Water Potential in National Parks and Monuments of the Southern Colorado Plateau, 1915-2099 - Data

June 12, 2018

These data were simulated using the SOILWAT model and were intended to characterize soil-water conditions at different ecological sites on the Southern Colorado Plateau. SOILWAT is a daily, site-specific, multi soil-layer, ecosystem water-balance model, driven by daily meteorology, as well as site soil texture and vegetation. The sites simulated correspond with Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) plots established by the National Park Service's (NPS) Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN), which were established to capture the range of ecosystem conditions present in this network. Plant communities of the Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN) are a vital sign for this region, enhancing habitat, stabilizing soils, and moderating hydrology. However, these ecosystems are water-limited, and global climate models predict continued warming and seasonally dryer conditions through-out the 21st century. Recent drought-induced plant mortality events underscore the vulnerability to changing water availability. While climate projections are readily available, anticipating the consequences for plant communities in these dryland areas requires insight into soil moisture availability, which is influenced by both climate and soil profile conditions.

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