Simulation of vegetation and hydrology for climate change analysis of a mountain watershed Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2v23vw67g

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  • Climate change is expected to have both direct and indirect effects on water resources. Hydrologic impacts of two indirect effects, vegetation density and stomata! conductance, are evaluated for the American River, a 200 km² watershed in the Cascade Range of Washington state. First, a set of distributed hydrology-biogeochemistry model structures are created by coupling DHSVM (Distributed Hydrology-Soil-Vegetation Model) and Biome-BGC (BioGeochemistry Cycles). The model structures are applied to idealized hillslopes and current and future climate scenarios for the watershed. Eleven model structures, differing in vertical 1-D hydrology parameterization, lateral water routing, timestep, slope and aspect, are tested. Sensitivity of hydrology and vegetation density (as measured by leaf area index, LAI) is evaluated with respect to model structure, lapsed climate (elevation), climate change, and soil thickness and nitrogen input rate. Lapsed climate accounts for the largest range in LAI, but choice of model structure is also significant, highlighting opportunities and problems in model development. LAI is water-limited at low elevations, temperature-limited at high elevations, and solar-limited at all elevations. All model structures predict increased LAI under the future scenario that includes reduced stomatal conductancethe conifer forest grows denser. Next, climate scenarios and LAI results from the idealized hillslope simulations are input to the hydrology model DHSVM for hydrologic analysis of the full American River watershed. Basin-average annual precipitation, streamflow, and evapotranspiration all increase under the future climate scenario. The direct effect of increased temperature causes the major hydrologic impact, reduced snowpack and altered seasonal timing of streamflow and ET. Indirect effects of altered LAI and stomatal conductance on hydrology are minor in comparison to the direct effects. Future streamflow and ET are essentially the same between the simplest treatment of climate change, involving fixed LAI and physical climate change only, and the most detailed treatment, involving variable LAI and reduced stomatal conductance in addition to physical climate change.
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