Next Article in Journal
Recent Research Results on Groundwater Resources and Saltwater Intrusion in a Changing Environment
Previous Article in Journal
An Autopsy Study of a Fouled Reverse Osmosis Membrane Used for Ultrapure Water Production
Previous Article in Special Issue
Characterizing Land Use Impacts on Channel Geomorphology and Streambed Sedimentological Characteristics
Open AccessArticle

Climatic Trends of West Virginia: A Representative Appalachian Microcosm

1,* and 1,2,*
1
Institute of Water Security and Science, West Virginia University, Agricultural Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
2
Davis College, Schools of Agriculture and Food, and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, 3109 Agricultural Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1117; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061117
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 22 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
  |  
PDF [2903 KB, uploaded 30 May 2019]
  |  

Abstract

During the late 19th and very early 20th centuries widespread deforestation occurred across the Appalachian region, USA. However, since the early 20th century, land cover rapidly changed from predominantly agricultural land use (72%; 1909) to forest. West Virginia (WV) is now the USA’s third most forested state by area (79%; 1989–present). It is well understood that land cover alterations feedback on climate with important implications for ecology, water resources, and watershed management. However, the spatiotemporal distribution of climatic changes during reforestation in WV remains unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, daily maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation data were acquired for eighteen observation sites with long periods of record (POR; ≥77 years). Results indicate an increasingly wet and temperate WV climate characterized by warming summertime minimum temperatures, cooling maximum temperatures year-round, and increased annual precipitation that accelerated during the second half (1959–2016) of the POR. Trends are elevation dependent and may be accelerating due to local to regional ecohydrological feedbacks including increasing forest age and density, changing forest species composition, and increasing globally averaged atmospheric moisture. Furthermore, results imply that excessive wetness may become the primary ecosystem stressor associated with climate change in the USA’s rugged and flood prone Appalachian region. The Appalachian region’s physiographic complexity and history of widespread land use changes makes climatic changes particularly dynamic. Therefore, mechanistic understanding of micro- to mesoscale climate changes is imperative to better inform decision makers and ensure preservation of the region’s rich natural resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; Appalachia; reforestation; land use-land cover; land-atmosphere coupling climate change; Appalachia; reforestation; land use-land cover; land-atmosphere coupling
Figures

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kutta, E.; Hubbart, J. Climatic Trends of West Virginia: A Representative Appalachian Microcosm. Water 2019, 11, 1117.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Water EISSN 2073-4441 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top