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Individual Highlight

International collaborators develop easy-to-use formulas for water and carbon accounting

Photo of The network of monitoring sites that provided data for this study. The U.S.-China Carbon Consortium allows scientists to share data across the United States and China. The network of monitoring sites that provided data for this study. The U.S.-China Carbon Consortium allows scientists to share data across the United States and China. Snapshot : Ecosystem water use is closely coupled with ecosystem productivity, water availability, and water supplies, but accurate water use accounting remains challenging because of model deficiencies or difficulty of model use in practice. Forest Service researchers combined global water use or evapotranspiration measurements with remote sensing products to create a series of simple formulas that can accurately estimate water use and thus water and carbon budgets for seven different land cover types. This work improves understanding of the connections between forest management practices, carbon and water cycles, and changing climate conditions.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Sun, Ge 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1311

Summary

Ecosystem water use through evapotranspiration is closely coupled with ecosystem productivity, water availability, and water supply. Although numerous hydrological models exist, accurately estimating water use remains challenging because of model deficiency or difficulty of model use in practice. To improve model accuracy and user experience, Forest Service researchers (including those at the agency’s Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center) working through the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium combined water use or evapotranspiration data from global eddy covariance flux measurements at more than 200 monitoring sites, multiple year remote sensing products, and statistical modeling. Their results produced a new set of formulas that can help models better quantify landscape-level water and carbon balances with readily available meteorological and biophysical information. Scientists world-wide are applying these easy-to-use formulas to map water supply and ecosystem productivity for large basins or regions. In addition, the formulas can help users understand water stress and carbon-water tradeoffs in different ecosystems under climate change and variability and management scenarios.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • College of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology
  • North Carolina State University
  • U.S.-China Carbon Consortium