Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Special Seminar: Ben Livneh

Special Seminar: Ben Livneh

Quantifying the Impacts of Land Cover and Climatic Change on Water Resources through a Multi-scale Hydrological Modeling Framework

A growing body of research has shown that the hydrologic cycle may be intensifying due to anthropogenic climatic warming. Development and disturbances to natural watersheds can further alter historical relationships between climate and water requiring sophisticated scientific analysis to address the emerging challenges. Models provide a means of representing these complex interactions, while assimilating data across a broad spectrum of sources—in situ measurements, aerial and satellite remote sensing—to produce an integrated estimate of hydrologic responses constrained by conservation equations. This presentation will explore several examples of how hydrologic impacts of both climate change and land cover disturbance can be quantified across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Two case studies will be presented including regional-scale drought attribution and catchment-scale response to forest disturbance and snowmelt perturbation. The first example will focus on attributing drought severity to its drivers, precipitation and temperature variability, and disentangling the relative contributions of each, making use of a multi-decadal observational data set and a physically-based macroscale (~ 50 km model grid cells) hydrologic model for the 2012 Great Plains Drought. The second example explores the hydrologic impacts of recent forest mortality caused by bark beetle outbreak and dryland dust-on-snow driven snowmelt perturbations for several catchments within the Upper Colorado River Basin. This analysis will use a fine-resolution (~ 100 m model grid cells) modeling system that assimilates dynamic vegetation data from aerial surveys and incorporates satellite estimates of disturbance, as well as dust-on-snow radiative loading. Finally, a description of future work within these theme areas will be presented to spawn discussion and highlight potential areas for collaboration.

Ben Livneh, Ph.D., is a CIRES researcher in NOAA's Earth Science Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division.


CIRES Auditorium