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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

PI: Joseph P. McFadden

Modeling Effects of Landcover Heterogeneity on Regional Climate and Hydrology in the Arctic

The arctic region provides a unique opportunity for modeling land-atmosphere interactions because its surface is characterized by a mosaic of a small number of vegetation types. This project uses a version of the regional atmospheric model RAMS that was developed for seasonal to interannual simulations to study the effects of land cover heterogeneity on the climate and hydrology of arctic Alaska. The model represents the effects of vegetation, seasonal permafrost evolution, snow accumulation, snowmelt, and the resulting changes in surface moisture and energy exchange. These researchers are developing a coupled modeling system that will incorporate a snow-transport model and a new, community land surface model. They are currently performing 12–13 month simulations using three two-way-interactive, nested model grids at 60-, 20-, and 5-km horizontal resolution. In the next phase, the goal is to increase the horizontal resolution by a factor of four or five, increase the time period being simulated, and implement ensemble or factorial model experiments. Although this project focuses on an arctic domain, the modeling approaches will be valuable for other regions that have a high degree of landcover heterogeneity.

Group Members

Rebecca Hiller, Research Associate
Emily B. Peters, Graduate Student