Disentangling Climate and Land-use Impacts on Grassland Carbon and Water Fluxes

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Nathaniel A Brunsell, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, United States and Jesse B Nippert, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, United States
Regional climate and land cover interact in a complex, non-linear manner to alter the local cycling of mass and energy. It is often difficult to isolate the role of either mechanism on the resultant fluxes. Here, we attempt to isolate these mechanisms through the use of network of 4 Ameriflux eddy covariance towers installed over different land cover and land use classes along a pronounced rainfall gradient. The land cover types include: annually burned C4 grassland, a 4 year burn site experiencing woody encroachment, an abandoned agricultural field and a new perennial agricultural site. We investigated the impact of rainfall variability, drought, and heat waves on the water and carbon budgets using data analysis, remote sensing, and modeling approaches. In addition, we have established a network of mini-meteorological stations at the annually and 4-year burn sites to assess micro-scale variability within the footprints of the towers as a function of topographic position, soil depth and soil water availability. Through the use of a wavelet multiscale decomposition and information theory metrics, we have isolated the role of environmental factors (temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc.) on the fluxes across the different sites. By applying a similar analysis to model output, we can assess the ability of land-surface models to recreate the observed sensitity. Results indicate the utility of a network of measurement systems used in conjunction with land surface modeling and time series analysis to assess differential impacts to similar regional scale climate forcings. Implications for the role of land cover class in regional and global scale modeling systems will also be discussed.