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Sulfate is a major component of bulk atmospheric deposition (including dust, aerosol, fog, and rain). We analyzed sulfur and oxygen isotopic compositions of water-soluble sulfate from 40 sites where year-round dust traps collect bulk atmospheric deposition in the southwestern United States. Average sulfur and oxygen isotopic compositions (?34S and ?18O) are 5.8 � 1.4 (CDT) and 11.2 � 1.9 (SMOW) (n = 47), respectively. Samples have an oxygen 17 anomaly (?17O), with an average value of 1.0 � 0.6?. Except for a weak positive correlation between ?18O and ?17O values (r2 ? 0.4), no correlation exists for ?18O versus ?34S, ?17O versus ?34S, or any of the three isotopic compositions versus elevation of the sample site....
The concentration of fine particulate carbonaceous material has been measured over a 1�year period at the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) Canyonlands National Park, Utah sampling site using a Brigham Young University organic sampling system (BOSS) multisystem, multichannel diffusion denuder sampler. Samples were collected on the IMPROVE schedule of a 24�hour sample every Wednesday and Saturday. The concentrations of particulate C, determined using only a quartz filter pack sampling system, were low by an average of 39%, as a result of the loss of semi�volatile organic compounds from the particles collected on quartz filters during sampling. The loss was higher during the summer...
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Scientists vigorously debate the degree to which rock varnish is formed through the actions of microorganisms. To investigate this enigma, we utilized a three-pronged approach that combined (1) culture-independent molecular methods to characterize bacterial communities associated with varnish that coats the rhyolitic volcanic rocks of Black Canyon, New Mexico, and rocks with no visible varnish; (2) culturing of varnish in media supplemented with reduced forms of manganese and/or iron and no or low amounts of carbon to isolate bacteria capable of precipitating iron and/or manganese oxides; and (3) scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of varnish and nearby rock that lacks macroscopically visible varnish. Our culture-independent...
Cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash parameters collected by the National Lightning Detection Network were analyzed in conjunction with rainfall observations near Mitchell Creek (MC) at the Coal Seam Wildfire site in western Colorado, USA. Nine thunderstorms produced significant CG flashes in the area surrounding MC from 28 June (fire containment) to 5 August 2002. A debris flow was generated at MC by one of these storms at ?2058 LT on 5 August 2002. This study compares the CG flash parameters and rainfall characteristics of the 5 August thunderstorm with the eight thunderstorms (control group) that did not produce a hazardous hydrologic response at MC. The CG flash patterns and a synoptic analysis suggest that...
Insect outbreaks are significant disturbances in forests of the western United States, with infestation comparable in area to fire. Outbreaks of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) require life cycles of one year with synchronous emergence of adults from host trees at an appropriate time of year (termed “adaptive seasonality�) to overwhelm tree defenses. The annual course of temperature plays a major role in governing life stage development and imposing synchrony on mountain pine beetle populations. Here we apply a process-based model of adaptive seasonality across the western United States using gridded daily temperatures from the Vegetation/Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP)...
Drag coefficients (Cd ) for the desert shrub greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) were developed from force versus wind speed data collected with an omnidirectional force balance. The average Cd for a small (0.6 m high, 0.5 m wide) shrub and a larger (1.6 m high, 1.3 m wide) shrub were 1.425 (�0.103) and 0.435 (�0.200), respectively. These values are much larger than similarly shaped solid elements and previously reported values for creosote bush (Larrea tridentata, Cd = 0.485) and an artificial tree (0.4). The greater Cd value for greasewood probably results from factors related to porosity and vegetation structure that gives this shrub-type greater momentum extracting potential. The drag coefficients for the greasewood...
We use cosmogenic radionuclide (CRN) exposure ages from polished, striated bedrock to constrain numerical simulations of deglaciation in the Middle Boulder Creek Valley, Colorado Front Range, and the Animas River Valley, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. In both valleys, the cosmogenic ages suggest initiation of deglaciation ?20 ka and ongoing retreat until 12?13 ka. While the first-order trend in CRN concentrations in each valley suggests a monotonic glacial retreat, we evaluate other retreat scenarios with different implications for post-Last Glacial Maximum regional climate. We use a 2-D numerical glacier simulation with a CRN layer to investigate how CRN-based deglaciation records are affected by retreat histories...
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Magnetic properties of shallow (<10-cm depth), fine-grained surficial sediments contrast greatly with those of immediately underlying bedrock across much of the dry American Southwest. At 26 study sites in fine-grained (<63 ?m) surficial sediments isolated from alluvial inputs, isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM; mean of 67 samples = 6.72 � 10?3 Am2 kg?1) is more than two orders of magnitude greater than that for underlying Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. This contrast is mainly caused by the presence of silt-size, titanium-bearing magnetite particles in the surficial deposits and their absence in bedrock. Because of their size, composition, and isolated location, the magnetite particles represent...
Streamflow disaggregation techniques are used to distribute a single aggregate flow value to multiple sites in both space and time while preserving distributional statistics (i.e., mean, variance, skewness, and maximum and minimum values) from observed data. A number of techniques exist for accomplishing this task through a variety of parametric and nonparametric approaches. However, most of these methods do not perform well for disaggregation to daily time scales. This is generally due to a mismatch between the parametric distributions appropriate for daily flows versus monthly or annual flows, the high dimension of the disaggregation problem, compounded uncertainty in parameter estimation for multistage approaches,...
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This study provides a fast and easy-to-apply method to estimate threshold friction velocity (TFV) of wind erosion in the field. Wind tunnel experiments and a variety of ground measurements including air gun, pocket penetrometer, torvane, and roughness chain were conducted in Moab, Utah and cross-validated in the Mojave Desert, California. Patterns between TFV and ground measurements were examined to identify the optimum method for estimating TFV. The results show that TFVs were best predicted using the air gun and penetrometer measurements in the Moab sites. This empirical method, however, systematically underestimated TFVs in the Mojave Desert sites. Further analysis showed that TFVs in the Mojave sites can be...
High-elevation lakes in the western United States are sensitive to atmospheric deposition of sulfur and nitrogen due to fast hydrologic flushing rates, short growing seasons, an abundance of exposed bedrock, and a lack of well-developed soils. This sensitivity is reflected in the dilute chemistry of the lakes, which was documented in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Western Lake Survey of 1985. Sixty-nine lakes in seven national parks sampled during the 1985 survey were resampled during fall 1999 to investigate possible decadal-scale changes in lake chemistry. In most lakes, SO4 concentrations were slightly lower in 1999 than in 1985, consistent with a regional decrease in precipitation SO4 concentrations...
The forest-alpine tundra ecotone in the Front Range of Colorado typically occurs as a gradual transition from the treeless tundra to the closed canopy coniferous subalpine forest. We evaluated the patterns of snow, deposition inputs, and soil properties at three spatial scales: across the entire ecotone, with distance from tree limit in the transitional krummholz zone, and around individual trees. Snow depth was deepest in the krummholz zone and lowest in the alpine tundra and upwind of trees near tree limit, but was not predictive of most soil properties except for surface litter decomposition. Inorganic deposition ranged from 0.7 to 7.7 g m−2 yr−1 across the ecotone and tended to be higher downwind than upwind...
Stream hydrology strongly affects the structure of aquatic communities. Changes to air temperature and precipitation driven by increased greenhouse gas concentrations are shifting timing and volume of streamflows potentially affecting these communities. The variable infiltration capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrologic model has been employed at regional scales to describe and forecast hydrologic changes but has been calibrated and applied mainly to large rivers. An important question is how well VIC runoff simulations serve to answer questions about hydrologic changes in smaller streams, which are important habitat for many fish species. To answer this question, we aggregated gridded VIC outputs within the drainage...
The paleomagnetism of the ?147 Ma (Tithonian) Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation was analyzed to obtain a Late Jurassic paleomagnetic pole for North America. A total of 200 samples were collected from 25 sedimentary horizons (sites) at Norwood Hill in southwest Colorado. At Montezuma Creek in southeast Utah, 184 samples were collected from 26 sites. Detailed thermal demagnetization (up to nine temperature steps between 600�C and 680�C) and principal component analysis were required to confidently isolate characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM) directions carried by hematite. Demagnetization behavior for many horizons is erratic and does not allow isolation of a high unblocking-temperature ChRM. Data...
Alpine/subalpine ecosystems in Rocky Mountain National Park may be sensitive to atmospherically derived acidic deposition. Two- and three-component hydrograph separation analyses and correlation analyses were performed for six basins to provide insight into streamflow generation during snowmelt and to assess basin sensitivity to acidic deposition. Three-component hydrograph separation results for five basins showed that streamflow contained from 42 to 57% direct snowmelt runoff, 37 to 54% subsurface water, and 4 to 13% direct rain runoff for the May through October 1994 study period. Subsurface contributions were 89% of total flow for the sixth basin. The reliability of hydrograph separation model assumptions was...
A physical model was developed to explain threshold friction velocities u*t for particles of the size 60–120 Î&frac14;m lying on a rough surface in loose soils for semiarid and arid parts of the United States. The model corrected for the effect of momentum absorption by the nonerodible roughness. For loose or disturbed soils the most important parameter that controls u*t is the aerodynamic roughness height z 0. For physical crusts damaged by wind the size of erodible crust pieces is important along with the roughness. The presence of cyanobacteriallichen soil crusts roughens the surface, and the biological fibrous growth aggregates soil particles. Only undisturbed sandy soils and disturbed soils of all types would...
Soil texture is a key variable in the coupled relationship between climate, soil, and vegetation. This coupling and its dependence on soil texture are studied in this paper using analytical descriptions for soil moisture dynamics and the corresponding vegetation water stress. Results confirm the importance of soil texture in partitioning rainfall into the mean values of the water balance loss components, namely, evapotranspiration, leakage, and runoff, and in determining vegetation water stress for the vegetation and climatic regimes of the La Copita Research Area in Texas. Two separate mechanisms by which this sensitivity to soil texture can impact the ecological structure at La Copita are illustrated. First, dynamics...
We evaluate three metrics representing the drivers of channel change downstream from dams. A balance between changes in sediment supply and transport capacity identifies conditions of sediment deficit or surplus. A Shields number represents the competence of postdam flows and the potential for incision under conditions of sediment deficit. A ratio of postdam to predam flood discharge provides a metric for the scale and rate of channel change, especially width. The metrics are calculated for more than 4000 km of some of the major rivers in the western United States. More than 60% of these rivers are in sediment deficit, and only a few reaches are in sediment surplus. The sediment balance can be used to assess the...
The hydrologic importance of grazing is receiving increased attention on rangelands in the United States. The literature on this topic is fragmented. This paper explores the available literature for information useful in understanding the hydrologic impacts of grazing intensity as related primarily to infiltration and runoff. Generally, data relative to range condition are not adequate for evaluating hydrologic impacts. Data relating grazing intensity to infiltration rates are available, yet distinct limitations are evident. These limitations are discussed in terms of identifying future research needs. The greatest need appears to be a detailed definition of the long-term effects of grazing (by year and season)...
Radiative forcing induced by soot on snow is an important anthropogenic forcing affecting the global climate. In this study we simulated the deposition of soot aerosol on snow and the resulting impact on snowpack and the hydrological cycle in the western United States. A year-long simulation was performed using the chemistry version of the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF-Chem) to determine the soot deposition, followed by three simulations using WRF in meteorology-only mode, with and without the soot-induced snow albedo perturbations. The chemistry simulation shows large spatial variability in soot deposition that reflects the localized emissions and the influence of the complex terrain. The soot-induced...


map background search result map search result map Diversity of rock varnish bacterial communities from Black Canyon, New Mexico A simple method to estimate threshold friction velocity of wind erosion in the field Atmospheric mineral dust in dryland ecosystems: Applications of environmental magnetism Diversity of rock varnish bacterial communities from Black Canyon, New Mexico A simple method to estimate threshold friction velocity of wind erosion in the field Atmospheric mineral dust in dryland ecosystems: Applications of environmental magnetism