The NRP had its beginnings in the late 1950's. Since that time, the program has grown to encompass a broad spectrum of scientific investigations. The sciences of hydrology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, ecology, biology, geology, and engineering are used to gain a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation's water resources. Results of NRP's long-term research investigations often lead to the development of new concepts, techniques, and approaches that are applicable not only to the solution of current water problems, but also to future issues that may affect the Nation's water resources. Basic tools of hydrology that have been developed by the...
In Alaska, recent research has identified particular areas of the state where both a lack of soil moisture and warming temperatures increase the likelihood of wildfire. While this is an important finding, this previous research did not take into account the important role that melting snow, ice, and frozen ground (permafrost) play in replenshing soil moisture in the spring and summer months. This project will address this gap in the characterization of fire risk using the newly developed monthly water balance model (MWBM). The MWBM takes into account rain, snow, snowmelt, glacier ice melt, and the permafrost layer to better calculate soil moisture replenishment and the amount of moisture that is lost to the atmosphere...
The objectives of my research are (1) to synthesize observational estimates of continental water and energy fluxes and storage; (2) to construct global computational models of continental water and energy fluxes and storage; (3) to identify physical controls, natural and anthropogenic, on spatial and temporal variability of water and energy fluxes and storage; and (4) to elucidate the hydrologic causes and effects of Earth-system variability and change, including climatic, biospheric, and geodetic processes.
Water resource managers rely on hydrologic planning and decision-making models to understand and evaluate current and future water operations in the face of endangered species needs, drought, and climate change. Current climate change projections, such as those used in the West-Wide Climate Risk Assessment programs, are trending toward more extreme instances of drought within the Southern Rockies LCC region. Accurately estimating agricultural water consumption both under present conditions and under modeled future scenarios will help water resource managers project how much water might be available for allocation toward current ecological projects. It will also improve their understanding of the challenges a more...
Assessing Evapotranspiration Rate Changes for Proposed Restoration of the Forested Uplands of the DLCC
Accurate estimation of evapotranspiration (ET) is essential for assessments of water balance and hydrologic responses to forest restoration treatments in uplands adjacent to the Desert LCC. As part of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative, a new paired watershed study is being planned to assess the hydrologic effects of mechanically thinning and restoring a more frequent fire regime to the ponderosa pine forests of Arizona. Water and energy balances will be measured and modeled in these paired watersheds to help inform and better plan for the hydrologic responses of future forest restoration actions. Researchers at Northern Arizona University have collected six years of eddy covariance measurements of ET in the...
Actual evapotranspiration modeling using the operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop) approach
This project applies ET remote sensing at two scales, 1) across the full landscape at 1000 m MODIS resolution (as a component of the water budget to support water availability studies, and 2) on agricultural lands at 100 m Landsat resolution (for estimating crop water use).
Develop new micrometeorological approaches and instrumentation to measure ET in a variety of challenging field settings. Develop ET models with applications to specific locations to allow users to predict ET easily and inexpensively. Investigate the performance of micrometeorological methods in complex terrain. Relate changes in ET to changes in weather patterns (e.g. El Nino in a desert setting) or to changes in land use (e.g. agricultural conversion, forest thinning). Develop guidelines for use of micrometeorological methods at limited fetch sites
Determine source and sink strengths and environmental controls of greenhouse gases at the Earth’s surface and the role of management in modulating the exchange near the surface. Evaluate the role of land use and climate change on evapotranspiration rates over various land surfaces toward regional assessments with the aid of models and remote sensing.
A major component of the Water Census is the National Water Census Data Platform, which enables integration and delivery of water budget information alongside other data of interest to managers, such as water use data or ecological assessment criteria. Eventually, end users of water budget data (i.e. management agencies and decision-makers) will be able to access an integrated system of online databases in a form that will enable them to construct local and regional water budgets.
This study sought to better quantify selected components of the water budget in the Colorado River Basin to assist in the assessment of water availability for the region.
In 2014, the Upper Rio Grande Basin (URGB) of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico was chosen as a focus area study (FAS) for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Census. The three main objectives of the USGS National Water Census are to (1) provide a nationally consistent set of indicators that reflect each status and trend relating to the availablity of water resources in the United States, (2) provide information and tools that allow users to better understand the flow requirements for ecological purposes, and (3) report on areas of significant competition over water resources and the factors that have led to the competition. The URGB FAS will help meet these objectives through an integrated,...
This project helps the Central Valley Joint Venture (CVJV) track gains and losses of key bird and waterfowl habitats at a landscape scale. This will allow the CVJV to effectively monitor and evaluate habitats essential to conservation planning for wildlife species. This work is important for identifying, assembling, and analyzing data for key habitats of concern and will provide a foundation for future monitoring.