Project Team: Sierra Nevada Ecological Forecasting Team
Team Location: Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California
Andrew Nguyen (San Jose State University)
Chase Mueller (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Esther Essoudry (University of California, Berkeley)
Amber Brooks (University of Redlands)
Chippie Kislik (University of California, Berkeley)
Cindy Schmidt (Bay Area Environmental Research Institute; DEVELOP National Program)
Carlos Ramirez (USDA Forest Service, Region 5 Remote Sensing Lab)
James Brannon (Villanova University)
Erika Edgar (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
The Sierra Nevada contains vital ecosystems that are experiencing changes in hydrologic regimes, such as decreases in snowmelt and peak runoff, which affect forest health and water resources. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 office is undergoing Forest Plan revisions to integrate climate-change impacts into mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, there are few tools in place to conduct quantitative assessments of forest and surface conditions in relation to mountain hydrology, while easily and effectively delivering that information to forest managers. To assist the Forest Service, this research team created a Decision Support System (DSS) featuring data integration, data viewing, reporting, and forecasting of ecological conditions within all Sierra Nevada intersecting watersheds. This DSS focuses on hydrological variables and large-scale fires. The Sierra DSS Mapping Viewer provides an online integration of satellite, modeled, and field-derived datasets. Users can view and analyze spatial hydrological, climate, and land-surface datasets in many time periods (past, current, and future) for specific research needs, similar to a stand-alone Geographic Information System (GIS). Additionally, projected climate conditions and vegetative properties derived from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), the Lund-Potsdam-Jena Dynamic Global Model (LPJ), and the California Basin Characterization Model (BCM) are summarized and available for viewing and download for each watershed within the Sierra Nevada. These data are hosted and available for download on the NASA OpenNEX cloud environment. Users also have the ability to access statistical summaries for each watershed on all featured climate and surface variables in monthly and seasonal time steps. For example, users can view significantly decreased values in snowfall from 2010-2100, based on California BCM outputs for a specific area. This DDS will be used by the Forest Service and other organizations interested in resource management in the Sierra Nevada to quickly address ecological concerns.
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