Matching Items (27)

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Integration of remote sensing, field observations and modelling for ecohydrological studies in Sonora, Mexico

Description

Ecohydrological responses to rainfall in the North American monsoon (NAM) region lead to complex surface-atmosphere interactions. In early summer, it is expected that soil properties and topography act as primary

Ecohydrological responses to rainfall in the North American monsoon (NAM) region lead to complex surface-atmosphere interactions. In early summer, it is expected that soil properties and topography act as primary controls in hydrologic processes. Under the presence of strongly dynamic ecosystems, catchment hydrology is expected to vary substantially in comparison to other semiarid areas, affecting our understanding of ecohydrological processes and the parameterization of predictive models. A large impediment toward making progress in this field is the lack of spatially extensive observational data. As a result, it is critical to integrate numerical models, remote sensing observations and ground data to understand and predict ecohydrological dynamics in space and time, including soil moisture, evapotranspiration and runoff generation dynamics. In this thesis, a set of novel ecohydrological simulations that integrate remote sensing and ground observations were conducted at three spatial scales in a semiarid river basin in northern Sonora, Mexico. First, single site simulations spanning several summers were carried out in two contrasting mountain ecosystems to predict evapotranspiration partitioning. Second, a catchment-scale simulation was conducted to evaluate the effects of spatially-variable soil thickness and textural properties on water fluxes and states during one monsoon season. Finally, a river basin modeling effort spanning seven years was applied to understand interannual variability in ecohydrological dynamics. Results indicated that ecohydrological simulations with a dynamic representation of vegetation greening tracked well the seasonal evolution of observed evapotranspiration and soil moisture at two measurement locations. A switch in the dominant component of evapotranspiration from soil evaporation to plant transpiration was observed for each ecosystem, depending on the timing and magnitude of vegetation greening. Furthermore, spatially variable soil thickness affects subsurface flow while soil texture controls patterns of surface soil moisture and evapotranspiration during the transition from dry to wet conditions. Finally, the ratio of transformation of precipitation into evapotranspiration (ET/P) and run off (Q/P) changed in space and time as summer monsoon progresses. The results of this research improve the understanding of the ecohydrology of NAM region, which can be useful for developing sustainable watershed management plans in the face of anticipated land cover and climate changes.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Modeling soil moisture dynamics of landscape irrigation in desert cities

Description

The history of outdoor water use in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has given rise to a general landscape aesthetic and pattern of residential irrigation that seem in discord with

The history of outdoor water use in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has given rise to a general landscape aesthetic and pattern of residential irrigation that seem in discord with the natural desert environment. While xeric landscaping that incorporates native desert ecology has potential for reducing urban irrigation demand, there are societal and environmental factors that make mesic landscaping, including shade trees and grass lawns, a common choice for residential yards. In either case, there is potential for water savings through irrigation schedules based on fluxes affecting soil moisture in the active plant rooting zone. In this thesis, a point-scale model of soil moisture dynamics was applied to two urban sites in the Phoenix area: one with xeric landscaping, and one with mesic. The model was calibrated to observed soil moisture data from irrigated and non-irrigated sensors, with local daily precipitation and potential evapotranspiration records as model forcing. Simulations were then conducted to investigate effects of irrigation scheduling, plant stress parameters, and precipitation variability on soil moisture dynamics, water balance partitioning, and plant water stress. Results indicated a substantial difference in soil water storage capacity at the two sites, which affected sensitivity to irrigation scenarios. Seasonal variation was critical in avoiding unproductive water losses at the xeric site, and allowed for small water savings at the mesic site by maintaining mild levels of plant stress. The model was also used to determine minimum annual irrigation required to achieve specified levels of plant stress at each site using long-term meteorological records. While the xeric site showed greater potential for water savings, a bimodal schedule consisting of low winter and summer irrigation was identified as a means to conserve water at both sites, with moderate levels of plant water stress. For lower stress levels, potential water savings were found by fixing irrigation depth and seasonally varying the irrigation interval, consistent with municipal recommendations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. These results provide a deeper understanding of the ecohydrologic differences between the two types of landscape treatments, and can assist water and landscape managers in identifying opportunities for water savings in desert urban areas.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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The shift of precipitation maxima on the annual maximum series using regional climate model precipitation data

Description

Ten regional climate models (RCMs) and atmosphere-ocean generalized model parings from the North America Regional Climate Change Assessment Program were used to estimate the shift of extreme precipitation due to

Ten regional climate models (RCMs) and atmosphere-ocean generalized model parings from the North America Regional Climate Change Assessment Program were used to estimate the shift of extreme precipitation due to climate change using present-day and future-day climate scenarios. RCMs emulate winter storms and one-day duration events at the sub-regional level. Annual maximum series were derived for each model pairing, each modeling period; and for annual and winter seasons. The reliability ensemble average (REA) method was used to qualify each RCM annual maximum series to reproduce historical records and approximate average predictions, because there are no future records. These series determined (a) shifts in extreme precipitation frequencies and magnitudes, and (b) shifts in parameters during modeling periods. The REA method demonstrated that the winter season had lower REA factors than the annual season. For the winter season the RCM pairing of the Hadley regional Model 3 and the Geophysical Fluid-Dynamics Laboratory atmospheric-land generalized model had the lowest REA factors. However, in replicating present-day climate, the pairing of the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics' Regional Climate Model Version 3 with the Geophysical Fluid-Dynamics Laboratory atmospheric-land generalized model was superior. Shifts of extreme precipitation in the 24-hour event were measured using precipitation magnitude for each frequency in the annual maximum series, and the difference frequency curve in the generalized extreme-value-function parameters. The average trend of all RCM pairings implied no significant shift in the winter annual maximum series, however the REA-selected models showed an increase in annual-season precipitation extremes: 0.37 inches for the 100-year return period and for the winter season suggested approximately 0.57 inches for the same return period. Shifts of extreme precipitation were estimated using predictions 70 years into the future based on RCMs. Although these models do not provide climate information for the intervening 70 year period, the models provide an assertion on the behavior of future climate. The shift in extreme precipitation may be significant in the frequency distribution function, and will vary depending on each model-pairing condition. The proposed methodology addresses the many uncertainties associated with the current methodologies dealing with extreme precipitation.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Climate resilience and vulnerability of the Salt River Project reservoir system, present and future

Description

Water resource systems have provided vital support to transformative growth in the Southwest United States; and for more than a century the Salt River Project (SRP) has served as a

Water resource systems have provided vital support to transformative growth in the Southwest United States; and for more than a century the Salt River Project (SRP) has served as a model of success among multipurpose federal reclamation projects, currently delivering approximately 40% of water demand in the metropolitan Phoenix area. Drought concerns have sensitized water management to risks posed by natural variability and forthcoming climate change.

Full simulations originating in climate modeling have been the conventional approach to impacts assessment. But, once debatable climate projections are applied to hydrologic models challenged to accurately represent the region’s arid hydrology, the range of possible scenarios enlarges as uncertainties propagate through sequential levels of modeling complexity. Numerous issues render future projections frustratingly uncertain, leading many researchers to conclude it will be some decades before hydroclimatic modeling can provide specific and useful information to water management.

Alternatively, this research investigation inverts the standard approach to vulnerability assessment and begins with characterization of the threatened system, proceeding backwards to the uncertain climate future. Thorough statistical analysis of historical watershed climate and runoff enabled development of (a) a stochastic simulation methodology for net basin supply (NBS) that renders the entire range of droughts, and (b) hydrologic sensitivities to temperature and precipitation changes. An operations simulation model was developed for assessing the SRP reservoir system’s cumulative response to inflow variability and change. After analysis of the current system’s drought response, a set of climate change forecasts for the balance of this century were developed and translated through hydrologic sensitivities to drive alternative NBS time series assessed by reservoir operations modeling.

Statistically significant changes in key metrics were found for climate change forecasts, but the risk of reservoir depletion was found to remain zero. System outcomes fall within ranges to which water management is capable of responding. Actions taken to address natural variability are likely to be the same considered for climate change adaptation. This research approach provides specific risk assessments per unambiguous methods grounded in observational evidence in contrast to the uncertain projections thus far prepared for the region.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Remote Sensing and Modeling of Stressed Aquifer Systems and the Associated Hazards

Description

Aquifers host the largest accessible freshwater resource in the world. However, groundwater reserves are declining in many places. Often coincident with drought, high extraction rates and inadequate replenishment result in

Aquifers host the largest accessible freshwater resource in the world. However, groundwater reserves are declining in many places. Often coincident with drought, high extraction rates and inadequate replenishment result in groundwater overdraft and permanent land subsidence. Land subsidence is the cause of aquifer storage capacity reduction, altered topographic gradients which can exacerbate floods, and differential displacement that can lead to earth fissures and infrastructure damage. Improving understanding of the sources and mechanisms driving aquifer deformation is important for resource management planning and hazard mitigation.

Poroelastic theory describes the coupling of differential stress, strain, and pore pressure, which are modulated by material properties. To model these relationships, displacement time series are estimated via satellite interferometry and hydraulic head levels from observation wells provide an in-situ dataset. In combination, the deconstruction and isolation of selected time-frequency components allow for estimating aquifer parameters, including the elastic and inelastic storage coefficients, compaction time constants, and vertical hydraulic conductivity. Together these parameters describe the storage response of an aquifer system to changes in hydraulic head and surface elevation. Understanding aquifer parameters is useful for the ongoing management of groundwater resources.

Case studies in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, focus on land subsidence from groundwater withdrawal as well as distinct responses to artificial recharge efforts. In Christchurch, New Zealand, possible changes to aquifer properties due to earthquakes are investigated. In Houston, Texas, flood severity during Hurricane Harvey is linked to subsidence, which modifies base flood elevations and topographic gradients.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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On the Statistical and Scaling Properties of Observed and Simulated Soil Moisture

Description

Soil moisture (θ) is a fundamental variable controlling the exchange of water and energy at the land surface. As a result, the characterization of the statistical properties of θ across

Soil moisture (θ) is a fundamental variable controlling the exchange of water and energy at the land surface. As a result, the characterization of the statistical properties of θ across multiple scales is essential for many applications including flood prediction, drought monitoring, and weather forecasting. Empirical evidences have demonstrated the existence of emergent relationships and scale invariance properties in θ fields collected from the ground and airborne sensors during intensive field campaigns, mostly in natural landscapes. This dissertation advances the characterization of these relations and statistical properties of θ by (1) analyzing the role of irrigation, and (2) investigating how these properties change in time and across different landscape conditions through θ outputs of a distributed hydrologic model. First, θ observations from two field campaigns in Australia are used to explore how the presence of irrigated fields modifies the spatial distribution of θ and the associated scale invariance properties. Results reveal that the impact of irrigation is larger in drier regions or conditions, where irrigation creates a drastic contrast with the surrounding areas. Second, a physically-based distributed hydrologic model is applied in a regional basin in northern Mexico to generate hyperresolution θ fields, which are useful to conduct analyses in regions and times where θ has not been monitored. For this aim, strategies are proposed to address data, model validation, and computational challenges associated with hyperresolution hydrologic simulations. Third, analyses are carried out to investigate whether the hyperresolution simulated θ fields reproduce the statistical and scaling properties observed from the ground or remote sensors. Results confirm that (i) the relations between spatial mean and standard deviation of θ derived from the model outputs are very similar to those observed in other areas, and (ii) simulated θ fields exhibit the scale invariance properties that are consistent with those analyzed from aircraft-derived estimates. The simulated θ fields are then used to explore the influence of physical controls on the statistical properties, finding that soil properties significantly affect spatial variability and multifractality. The knowledge acquired through this dissertation provides insights on θ statistical properties in regions and landscape conditions that were never investigated before; supports the refinement of the calibration of multifractal downscaling models; and contributes to the improvement of hyperresolution hydrologic modeling.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Optimization model for design of vegetative filter strips for stormwater management and sediment control

Description

Vegetative filter strips (VFS) are an effective methodology used for storm water management particularly for large urban parking lots. An optimization model for the design of vegetative filter strips

Vegetative filter strips (VFS) are an effective methodology used for storm water management particularly for large urban parking lots. An optimization model for the design of vegetative filter strips that minimizes the amount of land required for stormwater management using the VFS is developed in this study. The resulting optimization model is based upon the kinematic wave equation for overland sheet flow along with equations defining the cumulative infiltration and infiltration rate.

In addition to the stormwater management function, Vegetative filter strips (VFS) are effective mechanisms for control of sediment flow and soil erosion from agricultural and urban lands. Erosion is a major problem associated with areas subjected to high runoffs or steep slopes across the globe. In order to effect economy in the design of grass filter strips as a mechanism for sediment control & stormwater management, an optimization model is required that minimizes the land requirements for the VFS. The optimization model presented in this study includes an intricate system of equations including the equations defining the sheet flow on the paved and grassed area combined with the equations defining the sediment transport over the vegetative filter strip using a non-linear programming optimization model. In this study, the optimization model has been applied using a sensitivity analysis of parameters such as different soil types, rainfall characteristics etc., performed to validate the model

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Date Created
  • 2015

Turbulence, sediment transport, erosion, and sandbar beach failure processes in Grand Canyon

Description

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where banks exhibit strong curvature, for instance canyon rivers, sharp meanders and river confluences. In the Colorado River, downstream Glen Canyon Dam, lateral separation zones are the principal storage of sandbars. Maximum ramp rates have been imposed to Glen Canyon Dam operation to minimize mass loss of sandbars. Assessment of the effect of restricting maximum ramp rates in bar stability is conducted using multiple laboratory experiments. Results reveal that steep sandbar faces would rapidly erode by mass failure and seepage erosion to stable slopes, regardless of dam discharge ramp rates. Thus, continued erosion of sand bars depends primarily of turbulent flow and waves. A parallelized, three-dimensional, turbulence resolving model is developed to study flow structures in two lateral separation zones located along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The model employs a Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) technique where variables larger than the grid scale are fully resolved, while Sub-Grid-Scale (SGS) variables are modeled. The DES-3D model is validated using ADCP flow measurements and skill metric scores show predictive capabilities of simulated flow. The model reproduces the patterns and magnitudes of flow velocity in lateral recirculation zones, including size and position of primary and secondary eddy cells and return current. Turbulence structures with a predominately vertical axis of vorticity are observed in the shear layer, becoming three-dimensional without preferred orientation downstream. The DES-3D model is coupled with a sediment advection-diffusion formulation, wherein advection is provided by the DES velocity field minus particles settling velocity, and diffusion is provided by the SGS. Results show a lateral recirculation zone having a continuous export and import of sediment from and to the main channel following a pattern of high frequency pulsations of positive deposition fluxes. These high frequency pulsations play an important role to prevent an oversupply of sediment within the lateral separation zones. Improved predictive capabilities are achieved with this model when compared with previous two- and three-dimensional quasi steady and steady models.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field, Arizona

Description

ABSTRACT

The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field (SAVF) is the Sentinel Plains lava field and associated volcanic edifices of late Cenozoic alkali olivine basaltic lava flows and minor tephra deposits near the Gila

ABSTRACT

The Sentinel-Arlington Volcanic Field (SAVF) is the Sentinel Plains lava field and associated volcanic edifices of late Cenozoic alkali olivine basaltic lava flows and minor tephra deposits near the Gila Bend and Painted Rock Mountains, 65 km-100km southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The SAVF covers ~600 km2 and consists of 21+ volcanic centers, primarily low shield volcanoes ranging from 4-6 km in diameter and 30-200 m in height. The SAVF represents plains-style volcanism, an emplacement style and effusion rate intermediate between flood volcanism and large shield-building volcanism. Because of these characteristics, SAVF is a good analogue to small-volume effusive volcanic centers on Mars, such as those seen the southern flank of Pavonis Mons and in the Tempe Terra region of Mars. The eruptive history of the volcanic field is established through detailed geologic map supplemented by geochemical, paleomagnetic, and geochronological analysis.

Paleomagnetic analyses were completed on 473 oriented core samples from 58 sites. Mean inclination and declination directions were calculated from 8-12 samples at each site. Fifty sites revealed well-grouped natural remanent magnetization vectors after applying alternating field demagnetization. Thirty-nine sites had reversed polarity, eleven had normal polarity. Fifteen unique paleosecular variation inclination and declination directions were identified, six were represented by more than one site with resultant vectors that correlated within a 95% confidence interval. Four reversed sites were radiometrically dated to the Matuyama Chron with ages ranging from 1.08 ± 0.15 Ma to 2.37 ± 0.02 Ma; and one normal polarity site was dated to the Olduvai normal excursion at 1.91 ± 0.59 Ma. Paleomagnetic correlations within a 95% confidence interval were used to extrapolate radiogenic dates. Results reveal 3-5 eruptive stages over ~1.5 Ma in the early Pleistocene and that the SAVF dammed and possibly diverted the lower Gila River multiple times. Preliminary modeling of the median clast size of the terrace deposits suggests a maximum discharge of ~11300 cms (~400,000 cfs) was necessary to transport observed sediment load, which is larger than the historically recorded discharge of the modern Gila River.

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Date Created
  • 2015