NC CASC Webinar Series: Understanding and projection of space-time variability of summer hydroclimate and ecology in the United States

NC CASC Webinar Series: Understanding and projection of space-time variability of summer hydroclimate and ecology in the United States


Please join us for the NC CASC webinar on Thursday, August 12, 2021, 11a -12p MDT titled:

Understanding and projection of space-time variability of summer hydroclimate and ecology in the United States 

Presented by: Balaji Rajagopalan, Professor & Chair, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder


Registration link:  Register in advance for this meeting: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  



The southeast Prairie Pothole Region (SEPPR) is an important habitat in the northern Great Plains with millions of wetlands used by waterfowl, pheasants, deer, and many unique species that cannot be found elsewhere in the regional landscape. The region is highly sensitive to variations in climate, and it is projected to face climate changes in the future. Summer precipitation in the SEPPR is integral by helping to sustain the ecosystem after spring snowmelt. Thus, understanding, modeling, and projecting the summer hydroclimatology and ecology is crucial for resource managers of the SEPPR in managing the ecosystem efficiently. Expanding on available summer climate and climate variability information and providing unique tools that provide predictions will assist in their work. Motivated by this broader need, this research provides four key contributions. (1) We provide analysis and understanding of the space-time variability of summer hydroclimatology and potential mechanisms. We establish teleconnections and potential mechanisms driving the SEPPR summer precipitation variability through multivariate analysis of large-scale climate variables and regional rainfall. (2) Using the Lagrangian parcel-tracking model HYSPLIT, moisture sources and pathways of summer rainfall were identified. (3) We provide SEPPR resource managers with a predictive tool by employing an underutilized statistical forecasting technique – multivariate Canonical Correlation Analysis – to develop multisite forecasting models for spring and summer SEPPR pond counts. These models predict spring (May) and summer (July) pond counts for each region of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s pond and waterfowl surveys. (4) Finally, we provide SEPPR resource managers with a novel, predictive tool capable of simulating multiple vegetation types native to the SEPPR. This integrated climate-ecological modeling framework (ICEMF) couples a stochastic weather generator that can be conditioned on climate forecasts along with SEPPR climate, soil, and vegetation information in an ecological model, DayCent, to simulate ensembles of vegetation attributes in the SEPPR. The combination of new insights into the space-time hydroclimate variability, moisture sources and pathways of summer moisture, a multi-site forecasting model for ponds that supports SEPPR ecology, and the ICEMF makes a significant contribution to the broader community. These can be applied to model other ecological systems in the world, enabled to study impacts of climate change, and help with efficient and sustainable management.


About the speaker:

Professor Balaji Rajagopalan is the Chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) and a Fellow of Cooperative Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), CU Boulder. He pursues research in diverse interdisciplinary areas spanning – hydro-climatology; water resources management, Indian summer monsoon, paleo-climate and stochastic hydrology. In addition, large scale statistical analysis and modeling for applications to water and wastewater quality, construction safety, building energy efficiency and others. For his research contributing to improved operations, management and planning of water resources in the semi-arid river basins of Western USA, especially the Colorado River System, he was a co-recipient of the Partners In Conservation Award from the Department of Interior in 2009.  He was elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, in 2019.


Past NC CASC Webinar Recordings: 


Dates for 2021 NC CASC webinars:

September 9, 2021, 11a-12p MDT

October 14, 2021, 11a-12p MDT

November 11, 2021, 11a-12p MST

December 9, 2021, 11a-12p MST