Climate Research and Development Program

Cycling of Carbon and Nutrients

Nutrient and carbon cycling through the atmosphere, ocean, soils, and biota vary with changing climate and land use over multiple temporal and spatial scales. The Climate R&D Program conducts research to reduce uncertainties in projecting changes in the carbon cycle in response to future changes in land use and climate.

Filter Total Items: 18
Date published: January 25, 2021
Status: Active

Arctic Biogeochemical Response to Permafrost Thaw (ABRUPT)

Warming and thawing of permafrost soils in the Arctic is expected to become widespread over the coming decades.  Permafrost thaw changes ecosystem structure and function, affects resource availability for wildlife and society, and decreases ground stability which affects human infrastructure. Since permafrost soils contain about half of the global soil carbon (C) pool, the magnitude of C...

Date published: December 2, 2020
Status: Active

Understanding long-term drivers of vegetation change and stability in the Southern Rocky Mountains with paleoecological data and ecological models

Drought and fire are powerful disturbance agents that can trigger rapid and lasting changes in the forests of western North America. Over the last decade, increases in fire size and severity coincided with warming, drought, and earlier snowmelt, factors that projected climatic changes are likely to exacerbate. However, recent observations are brief relative to the lifespans of trees and...

Date published: March 25, 2020
Status: Active

Past Perspectives of Water in the West

In the intermountain west, seasonal precipitation extremes, combined with population growth, are creating new challenges for the management of water resources, ecosystems, and geologic hazards. This research contributes a comprehensive long-term context for a deeper understanding of past hydrologic variability, including the magnitude and frequency of drought and flood extremes and ecosystem...

Date published: February 26, 2020
Status: Active

Impacts of coastal and watershed changes on upper estuaries: causes and implications of wetland ecosystem transitions along the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are coastal transition zones where freshwater rivers meet tidal seawater.  As sea levels rise, tidal forces move saltier water farther upstream, extending into freshwater wetland areas. Human changes to the surrounding landscape may amplify the effects of this tidal extension, impacting the resiliency and function of the upper estuarine wetlands. One...

Contacts: Ken Krauss, Ph.D., Gregory Noe, Camille LaFosse Stagg, Ph.D., Hongqing Wang, Ph.D., Eric J Ward, Ph.D., Jamie A. Duberstein, William H. Conner, Zhaohua Dai, Thomas L. O'Halloran
Date published: June 17, 2019
Status: Active

Integrated Biogeochemical Research and Assessment

This project integrates soil and ecosystem data to impute important soil properties for hydric soils and wetlands. The work hopes to answer the questions: How have historical changes in biogeochemical processes affected present-day and potential future interactions among land, water, and ecosystem resources? How can improved understanding of historical and present-day biogeochemical...

Date published: May 30, 2019
Status: Active

Wetlands in the Quaternary

Wetlands accumulate organic-rich sediment or peat stratigraphically, making them great archives of past environmental change. Wetlands also act as hydrologic buffers on the landscape and are important to global biogeochemical cycling. This project uses wetland archives from a range of environments to better understand how vegetation, hydrology, and hydroclimate has changed on decadal to multi-...

Date published: April 24, 2019
Status: Active

Accelerating changes and transformations in western mountain lakes

While research into eutrophication has been a cornerstone of limnology for more than 100 years, only recently has it become a topic for the remote alpine lakes that are icons of protected national parks and wilderness areas. National park lakes in the western U.S. are threatened by global change, specifically air pollution, warming, and their interactions, and the problem is quickly worsening...

Date published: April 17, 2019
Status: Active

Water Quality Across Regional Stream Networks: The Influence of Land Cover and Land Use, Climate, and Biogeochemical Processing on Spatiotemporal Variance

Land cover and land use (LC/LU), climate, and biogeochemical processing are significant drivers of water quality in streams and rivers over broad scales of space and time. As LC/LU and climate continue to change we can expect changes in water quality. This project seeks to understand the drivers of spatial and temporal variability in water quality across scales using new and existing data to...

Date published: April 17, 2019
Status: Active

Mountains to sea – fluvial transport of carbon and nutrients and effects on ecosystems and people

Stream transport (lateral transfer) of carbon remains a poorly understood flux within the global carbon budget.  This research addresses the need to refine our knowledge of both provenance and transformations of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) as it moves from mountains to sea.  Interpreting shifts in carbon quality with increasing stream order, and how these patterns change with variation in...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Linking water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles in seasonally snow-covered catchments under changing land resource conditions

Changes in snowpack accumulation, distribution, and melt in high-elevation catchments are likely to have important impacts on water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, which are tightly coupled through exchanges of energy and biogeochemical compounds between atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic environments.  Our research helps to better understand how changes in climate will affect water...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Mechanisms, models, and management of invasive species and soil biogeochemical process in prairie pothole wetlands

The ecological foundation of thousands of acres of wetland habitat is being impacted by changes in land cover, land use, climate, and invasive species.  This project utilizes USGS remotely-sensed products, along with experimental and observational field data to develop spatially-explicit, landscape-scale models of invasive cattails and soil biogeochemical processes.  These models will assist...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Biogeochemistry of glaciers

Significant change to the Arctic and sub-arctic water cycle is underway, impacting hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes.  In southcentral Alaska, glacier mass loss, changes to precipitation (including the rain/snow fraction), thawing ground ice, and vegetation encroachment will change both magnitude and timing of water and solute fluxes downstream.  Although altered fluxes of limiting...