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Climate Change

Variability in the Earth's climate system affects the location and health of terrestrial and marine ecosystems; the distribution, quantity, and quality of water resources; and the sustainability of human societies. The Climate R&D Program applies geological, geochemical, ecological, and other analyses to document rates, amplitudes, causes, and impacts of climate change through Earth’

Filter Total Items: 34

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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Effects of disturbance and drought on the forests and hydrology of the Southern Rocky Mountains

Climate-related forest disturbances, particularly drought-induced tree mortality and large, high-severity fires from increasingly warm and dry conditions, are altering forest ecosystems and the ecosystem services society depends on (e.g., water supplies). Our research combines long-term place-based ecological data, diverse methods (e.g., paleo, remote-sensing), and networking approaches to...
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Effects of disturbance and drought on the forests and hydrology of the Southern Rocky Mountains

Climate-related forest disturbances, particularly drought-induced tree mortality and large, high-severity fires from increasingly warm and dry conditions, are altering forest ecosystems and the ecosystem services society depends on (e.g., water supplies). Our research combines long-term place-based ecological data, diverse methods (e.g., paleo, remote-sensing), and networking approaches to...
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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 availability...
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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 availability...
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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 nutrients are...
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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 nutrients are...
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Forest health and drought response

Forests provide society with economically important and often irreplaceable goods and services, such as wood products, carbon sequestration, clean water, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. Yet hotter droughts (droughts in which unusually high temperatures exacerbate the effects of low precipitation) are projected to increase in frequency and intensity in coming decades, potentially...
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Forest health and drought response

Forests provide society with economically important and often irreplaceable goods and services, such as wood products, carbon sequestration, clean water, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. Yet hotter droughts (droughts in which unusually high temperatures exacerbate the effects of low precipitation) are projected to increase in frequency and intensity in coming decades, potentially...
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Sea Level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present

Sea level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present is a multidisciplinary study of past changes in sea level. Prehistoric shorelines can be used as a baseline for current and future sea level changes under warmer-than-present climate. Emphasis is placed on looking at sea levels during warm periods of the last 500,000 years as well as how base level changes increase the risk of coastal inundation during...
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Sea Level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present

Sea level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present is a multidisciplinary study of past changes in sea level. Prehistoric shorelines can be used as a baseline for current and future sea level changes under warmer-than-present climate. Emphasis is placed on looking at sea levels during warm periods of the last 500,000 years as well as how base level changes increase the risk of coastal inundation during...
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Reconstructing Ocean Circulation & Hydroclimate in the Subtropical Atlantic

Changes in rainfall patterns as a result of anthropogenic climate change are already having large ecological and socioeconomic impacts across the globe. Increases in flood damage, wildfire damage, and agricultural losses can all be attributed to anomalous rainfall events and prolonged droughts across the United States in recent years. Additionally, Atlantic Ocean circulation, which has a large...
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Reconstructing Ocean Circulation & Hydroclimate in the Subtropical Atlantic

Changes in rainfall patterns as a result of anthropogenic climate change are already having large ecological and socioeconomic impacts across the globe. Increases in flood damage, wildfire damage, and agricultural losses can all be attributed to anomalous rainfall events and prolonged droughts across the United States in recent years. Additionally, Atlantic Ocean circulation, which has a large...
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Connections between Forested and Urban Landscapes and Implications for Water Supply

Interactions between forested and urban landscapes can lead to reciprocal effects that have substantial impacts on water supply and ecology. Air pollution from urban and forested landscapes can be deposited on adjacent forests, while forest disturbance, such as wildfires and floods, can remobilize those contaminants. Additionally, pollutants from legacy land use (e.g., mining) can also be...
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Connections between Forested and Urban Landscapes and Implications for Water Supply

Interactions between forested and urban landscapes can lead to reciprocal effects that have substantial impacts on water supply and ecology. Air pollution from urban and forested landscapes can be deposited on adjacent forests, while forest disturbance, such as wildfires and floods, can remobilize those contaminants. Additionally, pollutants from legacy land use (e.g., mining) can also be...
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Application and Refinement of a Systems Model for Prairie Pothole Wetlands

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America is one of the most important breeding areas for continental waterfowl populations, a Department of Interior (DOI) trust resource. Land use and climate both influence the functioning of the region’s wetland ecosystems, with effects not just on the waterfowl that depend on these wetlands, but also on the services they provide to society, such as...
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Application and Refinement of a Systems Model for Prairie Pothole Wetlands

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America is one of the most important breeding areas for continental waterfowl populations, a Department of Interior (DOI) trust resource. Land use and climate both influence the functioning of the region’s wetland ecosystems, with effects not just on the waterfowl that depend on these wetlands, but also on the services they provide to society, such as...
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Climate Change, Hydrologic Responses and Impacts on Carbon Cycling as Inferred by Changes in Fluvial Dissolved Organic Carbon Fluxes

This project investigates the links between terrestrial and marine carbon cycling and fluvial transport of freshwater and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the near-coastal ocean. The project analyzes DOC export that integrates complex interacting processes in natural and human-impacted terrestrial and aquatic environments. Changes in DOC export may indicate changes in terrestrial ecosystem carbon...
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Climate Change, Hydrologic Responses and Impacts on Carbon Cycling as Inferred by Changes in Fluvial Dissolved Organic Carbon Fluxes

This project investigates the links between terrestrial and marine carbon cycling and fluvial transport of freshwater and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the near-coastal ocean. The project analyzes DOC export that integrates complex interacting processes in natural and human-impacted terrestrial and aquatic environments. Changes in DOC export may indicate changes in terrestrial ecosystem carbon...
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Natural Drought and Flood Histories from Lacustrine Archives

Previous work performed as part of the USGS Holocene Synthesis project illuminated complex centennial-scale patterns of drought and wetter-than-average conditions across the North American continent interior during the past two millennia, where paleorecord data coverage is sparse. In order to explain the patterns of naturally-occurring drought, floods, and storms for the past, identified by the...
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Natural Drought and Flood Histories from Lacustrine Archives

Previous work performed as part of the USGS Holocene Synthesis project illuminated complex centennial-scale patterns of drought and wetter-than-average conditions across the North American continent interior during the past two millennia, where paleorecord data coverage is sparse. In order to explain the patterns of naturally-occurring drought, floods, and storms for the past, identified by the...
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