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Seminar Abstract

David W. Peterson - January 8, 2002


Forest hydrology in the Pacific Northwest: modeling the effects of climatic variability and forest cover on soil water storage and forest water use

Climate, forest cover, and soil water storage are all important factors influencing water cycling in forested areas of the Pacific Northwest. Climate influences water inputs to forest ecosystems (precipitation), water storage in winter snowpacks (temperature), and potential rates of evapotranspiration. Forest cover influences interception and direct evaporation of precipitation, duration of snowpack, and uptake and transpiration of soil water. Soil water storage allows precipitation falling during the fall and winter months to be used to support photosynthesis and growth during the spring and summer months, and may buffer forest ecosystems against climatic variability. I will be presenting results from two studies in which I am using the VIC hydrology model to investigate 1) the effects of future climate changes on soil water storage and forest water use (and stress), assuming no changes in vegetation cover, and 2) the effects of changing forest cover on soil water storage and forest sensitivity to climatic variability.

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