How does variability in climate, lithology and disturbance influence CZ structure and function over long (e.g., landscape evolution) and short (e.g., hydrologic event) time scales?
Urban population growth throughout the southwestern US is sustained largely by water supplies that derive from upland catchments in nearby montane landscapes. Southwestern mountain belts in Southern Arizona, for example, which vary widely in lithology, are sometimes termed “Sky Islands” because their higher elevations receive more annual precipitation, support greater vegetation biomass and have higher rates of net primary production than the surrounding “sea” of desert semi-arid to arid landscape. Ecosystems and soil development at high elevations in the Southwest also support domestic forestry, range and recreation industries. Global climate models predict progressive warming and drying of the U.S. Southwest overall, and this is expected to affect the composition and health of ecosystems across the elevation range, e.g., through stress-induced disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire.
Southwestern mountain systems are nonetheless expected to continue to serve as the water supply conduit to growing basin cities, in addition to supporting forestry, range and recreational activities. The need to understand their capacity to do so in the context of changing climate motivates Jemez-Catalina CZO research. The quantity and quality of water in upland catchments and receiving metropolitan areas depend on the processes that partition and transform it during its reactive transport through the CZ. However, the present-day hydrologic, geomorphic and (bio)geochemical behavior of the CZ depends, in turn, on its structure, which has evolved over geological time scales in response to long-term climatic and tectonic forcing. Therefore, a basic understanding of contemporary CZ behavior requires developing a conceptual model of how it has evolved to its current state, and how it will continue to evolve into the future. Such evolution includes the formation of hydrologic flow paths, the geochemical differentiation of the weathering profile, and the production and erosion of soil-mantled hillslopes.
26 Apr 2013 - Scientists study New Mexico's Rabbit Mountain, where forests burned in the 2011 Las Conchas fire
10 Jan 2013 - Congratulations to Jemez-Catalina scientists Adrian Harpold, Paul Brooks and others whose Water Resources Research paper pertaining to snowpack...
30 Oct 2012 - Scientists still don't know exactly how all that happens, and they have recently rigged the slopes of the Catalinas with a variety of...
11 Jan 2013 - Harpold awarded an NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship for a research and education program that spans 3 western Critical Zone Observatories
01 Oct 2011 - The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has awarded the John Dalton Medal to Peter A. Troch for his seminal contributions to hydrology in the areas of...
14 Oct 2010 - Article published in the special section of the Arizona Daily Star ...
Changes in snow accumulation and ablation following the Las Conchas Forest Fire, New Mexico, USA. Harpold A.A., Biederman J.A., Condon K., Merino M., Korgaonkar Y., Nan T., Sloat L.L., Ross M. and Brooks P.D. (2013): Ecohydrology Cross-CZO
The master transit time distribution of variable flow systems. Heidbüchel I., Troch P.A., Lyon S.W., and Weiler M. (2012): Water Resources Research 48(6): W06520
Thermodynamic constraints on effective energy and mass transfer and catchment function. Rasmussen C. (2012): Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16(3): 725-739,
LiDAR-Derived Snowpack Datasets From Mixed Conifer Forests Across the Western US. Harpold, A.A., Q. Guo, N. Molotch, P. D. Brooks, R. Bales, J.C. Fernandez-Diaz, K.N. Musselman, and T.L. Swetnam, P. Kirchner, M. Meadows, J. Flanagan, R. Lucas (2013): Water Resources Research, in review Cross-CZO
Nonstructural leaf carbohydrate dynamics of Pinus edulis during drought-induced tree mortality reveal role for carbon metabolism in mortality mechanism. Adams H.A., Germino M.J., Breshears D.D., Barron-Gafford G.A., Guardiola-Claramonte M., Zou C.B., and Huxman T.E. (2013): New Phytologist 197: 1142–1151
Coevolution of nonlinear trends in vegetation, soils, and topography with elevation and slope aspect: A case study in the sky islands of southern Arizona. Pelletier J.D., Barron-Gafford G.A., Breshears D.D., Brooks P.D., Chorover J., Durcik M., Harman C.J., Huxman T.E., Lohse K.A., Lybrand R., Meixner T., McIntosh J.C., Papuga S.A., Rasmussen C., Schaap M., Swetnam T.L., and Troch P.A. (2013): Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
An integrated modelling framework of catchment-scale ecohydrological processes: 1 Model description and tests over an energy-limited watershed. Niu G.-Y., Paniconi C., Troch P.A., Scott R.L., Durcik M., Zeng X., Huxman T. and Goodrich D.C. (2013): Ecohydrology
Modeling aeolian transport of soil-bound plutonium: considering infrequent but normal environmental disturbances is critical in estimating future dose. Michelotti E.A., Whicker J.J., Eisele W.F., Breshears D.D., Kirchner T.B. (2013): Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 120: 73-80
A robust, two-parameter method for the extraction of drainage networks from high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs): Evaluation using synthetic and real-world DEMs. Pelletier J. D. (2013): Water Resources Research 49(1): 75–89
Sediment capture by vegetation patches: Implications for desertification and increased resource redistribution. Field J. P, Breshears D. D., Whicker J. J, and Zou C. B. (2012): Journal of Geophysical Research 117: G01033