Understanding regional water resource dynamics due to land-cover/land-use and climate changes in the North Carolina Piedmont Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Gray, Joshua Michael
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography
Abstract
  • The spatiotemporal distribution of freshwater resources on Earth is controlled by interacting climatologic, ecological, and physical processes. These dynamics are likely to change in the future due to climate and land cover changes with important implications for life on Earth. Ecosystem simulation models which couple these processes are increasingly relied upon to provide projections of probable future changes so that resources may be sustainably managed and future growth and development planned. The majority of these models depend critically on surface descriptions such as land cover and vegetation abundance obtained from remotely sensed images, and remote sensing methods have played an essential role in accurately parameterizing and implementing models at appreciable spatial scales. However, significant challenges exist for investigations adopting an integrated remote sensing and ecosystem simulation approach. This investigation sought to quantify the likely impacts of climate change and land cover change on the water cycle of the Eno River basin in central North Carolina. Special attention was paid to addressing and overcoming existing remote sensing methodological limitations related to mapping leaf area index (LAI) and land cover. Improved methods were developed and the resulting products used to parameterize two different ecohydrologic models which were then used to quantify the hydrological effects of various climate and land cover change scenarios. The improved methods are demonstrated to overcome several of the major existing limitations to mapping LAI and land cover accurately, consistently, and efficiently with diverse data sources. These improvements lead to greater confidence in simulated results and future projections. The results of this investigation highlight the dominant role that climate plays in structuring basin response, and indicate that future changes may increase water stress in the area, particularly under scenarios of reduced growing season precipitation.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Song, Conghe
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012
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