This project began in May 2013. As the project develops we will highlight here some of our research findings. Our first projects are looking at:
1. Hydroclimate variability and change in the Prairie Potholes Region, North America's "Duck Factory".
The Prairie Potholes Region (PPR) is a remarkable area of the northern U.S. Plains and Canadian Prairies that has some 8 million or so glacial potholes that now comprise a tremendous wetlands environment that is the world's largest waterfowl habitat. Some 85% of North American mallards breed and raise their young in the PPR, often migrating great distances to the PPR in spring and returning home at the end of the summer. Hence the PPR is known as the "duck factory of North America". The PPR is under stress as a waterfowl habitat because of elimination of ponds to enable agricultural expansion. In addition, climate change will impact the region. Over the past decades the region has in general been getting wetter, especially in the southeast where duck populations have increased.
In our just submitted study we examine the past and future hydroclimate of the PPR using observations and climate model simulations from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) to be assessed for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report Five (IPCC AR5). The main findings are:
2. Climate model simulation of Rio Grande stream flow and projected changes for the 21st Century.
3. Impact of climate variability on the migration of Monarch butterflies.
4. Mechanisms for changes in the mean hydroclimate of Western North America under global warming.