Karst and climate change: Understanding linkages between climate, water resources, and ecosystems

In this project researchers are assessing the links between climate, groundwater storage, spring flow, and ecosystem response in two contrasting major U.S. karst systems:  the Edwards and Madison aquifers.  Karst aquifers are uniquely suited for investigating effects of climate variability at timescales of human interest because they are highly dynamic; further, many provide habitat for rare and endangered species.  The principal objective of this project is to determine how interrelations between karst hydrology and ecosystems will be affected by climate change.   

Current relations between recharge (impulse) and storage and spring flow (response) are quantified through signal-processing models that use existing time series of precipitation, stream flow, water level, and spring flow. Future changes in storage and spring flow are forecast by linking the signal-processing models with a downscaled climate change model. Current and future ecosystem health is assessed by assembling and analyzing spatial and temporal data in the two focal karst ecosystems and assessing their vulnerability related to projected climate change on the basis of the Climate-Change Vulnerability Index

Principal Investigator(s):

Amy Symstad

Marylynn Musgrove

John F Stamm

Andrew J Long

Mary Poteet

Project Status:

In Progress




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