Uniform TitleEvaluating the effects of historical land cover changes on summertime weather and climate in New Jersey
NameWichansky, Paul Stuart (author), Weaver, Christopher (chair), Robock, Alan (internal member), Broccoli, Anthony (internal member), Steyaert, Louis (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Land use--New Jersey--Environmental aspects,
Landscape change--New Jersey--Environmental aspects,
Climatic changes--Environmental aspects
DescriptionThe 19th-century agrarian landscape of New Jersey (NJ) and the surrounding region has been extensively transformed to the present-day land cover by urbanization, reforestation, and localized areas of deforestation. This study used a mesoscale atmospheric numerical model to investigate the sensitivity of the warm season climate of NJ to these land cover changes. Reconstructed 1880s-era and present-day land cover datasets were used as surface boundary conditions for a set of simulations performed with the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS). Three-member ensembles with historical and present-day land cover were compared to examine the sensitivity of surface air and dewpoint temperatures, rainfall, the individual components of the surface energy budget, horizontal and vertical winds, and the vertical profiles of temperature and humidity to these land cover changes.
Mean temperatures for the present-day landscape were 0.3-0.6° C warmer than for the historical landscape over a considerable portion of NJ and the surrounding region, with daily maximum temperatures at least 1.0° C warmer over some of the highly urbanized locations. Reforested regions in the present-day landscape, however, showed a slight cooling. Surface warming was generally associated with repartitioning of net radiation from latent to sensible heat flux, and conversely for cooling. Reduced evapotranspiration from much of the present-day land surface led to dewpoint temperature decreases of 0.3-0.6° C. While urbanization was accompanied by strong surface albedo decreases and increases in net shortwave radiation, reforestation and potential changes in forest composition have generally increased albedos and also enhanced landscape heterogeneity. The increased deciduousness of forests may have further reduced net downward longwave radiation.
These land cover changes have modified boundary-layer dynamics by increasing low-level convergence and upper-level divergence in the interior of NJ, especially where sensible heat fluxes have increased for the present-day landscape, hence enhancing uplift in the mid-troposphere. The mesoscale circulations that developed in the present-day ensemble were also more effective at lifting available moisture to higher levels of the boundary layer, lowering dewpoints near the surface but increasing them aloft. Likewise, the sea breeze in coastal areas of NJ in the present-day ensemble had stronger uplift during the afternoon and enhanced moisture transport to higher levels.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references.
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.