Climate Change and Climate Analogs for the Southern Appalachians

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2023-04-27

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Abstract

The National Park Service aims to manage the natural resources within its protected lands and preserve biodiversity in the face of today’s biggest environmental challenges, including climate change. In this project we used a water balance model to explore possible changes in vegetation ranges in Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks under climate change conditions, to inform the decisions of park managers. We plotted vegetation coverages of interest in a “climate space” defined by actual evapotranspiration and deficit, and change vectors charted the graphical movement of vegetation classes from historic to climate change conditions. These movements were translated to geographical shifts using analog maps. Based on our analyses, the vegetation within the two national parks undergo drastic changes to their historical hydrologic domains under climate change conditions. While our analysis was limited by coarse data resolution, it provides an important framework to begin understanding the implications of climate change for NPS units across the country.

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Ochocki, Chloe, Rachel Schoenecker and Michelle Thompson (2023). Climate Change and Climate Analogs for the Southern Appalachians. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27163.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.