The Susquehanna River Basin (SRB) lies in the northeastern United States and contains a mosaic of wetlands that range from permanently wet to temporary embedded in a landscape matrix of natural deciduous forest and agriculture. This study explores the prospects for SRB wetlands under modified hydrologic processes induced due to climatic change. Five mesoscale watersheds: Little Juniata River (560 sq. km.), Mahantango Creek (420 sq. km.), Young Womans Creek (120 sq. km.), Muddy Creek (344 sq. km.), and Lackawanna River (860 sq. km.) were selected as representative watersheds to include variability in climate, topography, soil, geomorphology, and land cover across SRB. We explored the broad spatial and temporal patterns across these watersheds between climate and wetland health using groundwater predictions from Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Modeling System (PIHM) -- a spatially distributed fully-coupled physics-based model. Near present (2004-2010) hourly climate data (precipitation,
temperature, relative humidity, vapor pressure, wind velocity and solar radiation) were obtained from Phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2), climate reanalysis product. The predicted wetland locations were validated against the National Wetland Inventory. We analyzed the effect of spatial and temporal variability in hydrologic states such as streams, groundwater, and evaporative and hydrologic fluxes on the wetland hydrology. To predict the impacts of climate change on the health of the wetland, meteorological data for two 20 year climate periods (History: 1979-1998 and Scenario: 2046-2065) from Meteorological Research Institute’s GCM were used as model forcing. The scenarios output showed different responses across the wetlands in the river basin. The key to this study is that a high resolution spatial and temporal model can resolve the coupled effects of wetlands in the context of complete mesoscale watershed simulations.
Yu, X., Duffy, C., Bhatt, G., Kumar, M. (2011): Wetlands Response to Climate Change across Susquehanna River Basin. AGU Annual Fall Conference Proceedings.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.