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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Assessing Conservation Effects on Water Quantity and Quality at Field and Watershed Scales

Location: National Soil Erosion Research

Title: Prediction technologies for assessment of climate change impacts)

Author
item Flanagan, Dennis
item Frankenberger, James - Jim
item Srivastava, Anurag
item Trotochaud, Joseph

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Temperatures, precipitation, and weather patterns are changing, in response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. With these relatively rapid changes, existing soil erosion prediction technologies that rely upon climate stationarity are potentially becoming less reliable. This is especially true of empirical technologies such as the Universal Soil Loss Equation which utilize maps of constant rainfall/runoff erosivity factors derived from historic climate data. The objectives of this presentation are to: 1.) Explore potential issues with existing empirical and process-based technologies for erosion prediction, 2.) Present new tools and procedures that can be used to assess impacts of climate change on future soil erosion, and 3.) Provide examples of how soil loss may change in the future at specific locations. Assessments of the impacts of future climate change are typically conducted by selection of a Global Circulation Model (GCM), obtaining predictions from the GCM for a particular (large) grid cell over the Earth’s surface, and then down-scaling the information to a much finer local set for prediction of future temperatures and precipitation. For the application described here, we utilize the MarkSim web tool that can automatically access and downscale future climate projections from single or ensemble GCMs using the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. Output from MarkSim is used together with a custom software tool to automatically create future climate inputs and parameter files for use in CLIGEN (CLImate GENerator), which then creates climate input files for the process-based WEPP (Water Erosion Prediction Project) soil erosion model. Additionally an updated WEPP version contains the ability to simulate the effects of changing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and plant growth and cover production. In the evaluations to this point, future climate impacts are quite location specific. These new tools should provide options for conservation planners to assess possible impacts of changing climate, and effectiveness of existing land management practices.

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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