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Understanding the effects of climatic variability is important to development of water resources, mitigation of flood hazards, and interpretation of geomorphic surfaces. Climatic variability, which is characterized by temporal changes in variability of seasonal climate that spans decades or centuries, may be more important to water-resources evaluations than changes in mean climatic conditions. Changes in variability of climate has a large effect on the probability of occurrence of extreme events, such as floods or droughts. Understanding of climatic variability and its effect on the landscape is of paramount importance for estimation of flood frequency, sediment transport rates, and long-term watershed and channel...
Biotic responses to climatic change or human manipulation are inherently complex because of wide differences in organism sensitivities and response times, the influence of history and scale, and the various interactions between organisms and with the physical system. In arid and semi-arid lands, which cover about 12.5 percent of the Earth's land surface, the effects of climatic variability on vegetation are greatly magnified, particularly because most plants exist near their physiological limits. How arid land vegetation might in turn affect climate is uncertain, though there is some indication that decreasing cover and increasing albedo could promote regional drought. Whether in response to projected Greenhouse...
The Tropical and Arid Regions Climate Project seeks to quantify past variations in climate and the hydrologic balance through studies of paleo and modern surface- and ground-water systems using stable isotope and other chemical methodologies. Objectives of the Tropical and Arid Regions Climate Projects are to determine: (1) the frequency and severity of drought during the past 10,000 years, (2) the frequency and severity of major cooling events that led to glacial advances in the Colorado Rockies, (3) the frequency of hurricanes that impacted the Carribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the past 400 years, and (4) the impact of climate change on prehistoric Native Americans.