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Atmosphere 2011, 2(3), 330-357; doi:10.3390/atmos2030330

Climate Variability and Its Impact on Forest Hydrology on South Carolina Coastal Plain, USA

1
Complex System Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
2
Center for Forested Wetlands Research, USDA, Cordesville, SC 29434, USA
3
Eastern Forest Environmental Treat Assessment Center, Southern Research Station, USDA, 920 Main Campus Dr., Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2011 / Revised: 26 July 2011 / Accepted: 9 August 2011 / Published: 16 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regional Climate Change and Variability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1934 KB, 17 August 2011; original version 16 August 2011]   |  

Abstract

Understanding the changes in hydrology of coastal forested wetlands induced by climate change is fundamental for developing strategies to sustain their functions and services. This study examined 60 years of climatic observations and 30 years of hydrological data, collected at the Santee Experimental Forest (SEF) in coastal South Carolina. We also applied a physically-based, distributed hydrological model (MIKE SHE) to better understand the hydrological responses to the observed climate variability. The results from both observation and simulation for the paired forested watershed systems indicated that the forest hydrology was highly susceptible to change due to climate change. The stream flow and water table depth was substantially altered with a change in precipitation. Both flow and water table level decreased with a rise in temperature. The results also showed that hurricanes substantially influenced the forest hydrological patterns for a short time period (several years) as a result of forest damage.
Keywords: climate change; stream flow; water table; hydrologic response; wetland; eco-hydrology climate change; stream flow; water table; hydrologic response; wetland; eco-hydrology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dai, Z.; Amatya, D.M.; Sun, G.; Trettin, C.C.; Li, C.; Li, H. Climate Variability and Its Impact on Forest Hydrology on South Carolina Coastal Plain, USA. Atmosphere 2011, 2, 330-357.

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