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Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Research

Future Midwestern Landscapes

The Future Midwestern Landscapes (FML) Study is being undertaken as part of EPA’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program (SCHRP). The study examines the variety of ways in which the landscapes of the Midwest – including working lands, conservation areas, wetlands, lakes, and streams – contribute to human well-being. The FM'sL goal is to quantify the current magnitude of those contributions, and to examine how ecosystem services in the Midwest could change over the next 10-15 years, given the growing demand for biofuels, as well as the growing recognition that many different ecosystem services are valuable to society and need to be encouraged. The FML study will examine how the overall complement of ecosystem services provided by the Midwest may be affected. The study will characterize a variety of ecosystem services for the 12-state area of the Midwest illustrated below.

A future scenario reflecting the policy-driven ramp-up of biofuel production will be compared to baseline conditions ca. 2002. Conceptual models of these scenarios will be used to explore the nature and magnitude of changes to ecosystems and human well-being expected and to set priorities for research. Detailed land use/land cover maps will be constructed for the baseline and alternative future scenarios and computational models will be employed to simulate the effects of land use changes in terrestrial, atmospheric and aquatic environments. In addition, a socio-economic framework and set of indicators will be developed for evaluating the ecological changes in each scenario, in terms of societal well-being.

While housed within SCHRP, there are numerous links with ongoing agricultural hydrology research tasks performed in the Safe and Sustainable Waters Research (SSWR), and air quality and climate and agricultural greenhouse gas research performed in the Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) research programs.

Future Midwestern Landscapes

The FML approach defines a linked-modeling system to address the issues posed by the alternative scenarios.   In particular, the FML Study will examine projected landscape changes and subsequent changes in ecosystem services. This task will make use of advances in CMAQ modeling of land use change, bi-directional ammonia flux and agricultural fertilizer management to explore the combined impact of land use changes on the deposition of nitrogen to underlying watersheds in the Midwest. Ongoing research will facilitate the communication of these results in terms that facilitates ecosystem exposure, services and benefits assessment. Planned analyses for the FML include changes in regional ambient concentrations of ozone, oxidized and reduced nitrogen species, sulfur dioxide, sulfate and fine particulate matter.   Changes in the magnitude and spatial and temporal distributions of ozone and nitrogen flux (emission and deposition) to FML ecosystems defined by NLCD vegetation class will also be estimated. SWAT is the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (Gassman, et al., 2007) BenMap is the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program Hubbell, et al., 2005)

Contacts: Ellen Cooter

Gassman, P.W., M.R. Reyes, C.H. Green, J.G. Arnold, 2007. “The Soil and Water Assessment Tool: Historical Development, Applications, and Future Research Directions.” Transactions of the ASABE, 50(4): 1211-1250.

Hubbell, B.J., A. Hallberg, D.R. McCubbin, and E. Post, 2005. “Health related benefits of attaining the eight-hour ozone standard. Environmental Health Perspectives 113(1): 73-82.

Pleim, J. E., Bash, J. O., Walker, J. T., and Cooter, E. J. submitted. “Development and testing of an ammonia bi-directional flux model for air quality models.” Biogesciences Special Issue, Nitrogen & Global Change.

Bash, J. O., Cooter, E. J., Dennis, R., Walker, J. T., and Pleim, J. E. submitted. “Evaluation of a regional air quality model with bidirectional NH3 exchange coupled to an agro-ecosystem model.” Biogeochemistry Special Issue, Nitrogen & Global Change.

Cooter, E.J., A. Rea, R. Bruins, D. Schwede, R. Dennis, submitted. “The role of the atmosphere in the provision of ecosystem services.” Science of the Total Environment.

Cooter, E.J., J.O. Bash, V. Benson, L. Ran, submitted. “Linking Agricultural Crop Management and Air Quality Models for Regional to National-Scale Nitrogen Assessments.” Biogeosciences Special Issue, Nitrogen & Global Change.



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