Modeling the Impacts of Climate Change on Wetland Ecosystems

EPA Grant Number: R829420E04
Title: Modeling the Impacts of Climate Change on Wetland Ecosystems
Investigators: Aravamuthan, Vibhas , Koppelman, David , Ramanujam, Jagannathan , Singh, Vijay P. , Suhayda, Joseph N. , Thiagarajan, Ganesh , Twilley, Robert
Institution: Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge , University of Louisiana at Lafayette , University of Missouri - Kansas City
Current Institution: Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge , University of Missouri - Kansas City
EPA Project Officer: Winner, Darrell
Project Period: June 10, 2002 through June 9, 2004 (Extended to June 9, 2006)
Project Amount: $129,210
RFA: EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: EPSCoR (The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)


The overall goal of this project is to develop a coupled global climate model and hydrologic/landscape ecology model for assessing the impact of climate change on the hydrology and ecology of Louisiana wetlands. Due to the complex interaction between the climatologic, hydrologic and ecologic processes, an integrated approach to study these processes is proposed. The proposed work involves the integration of a Global Climate Model, an overland flow hydrologic model, a coastal hydrodynamic model, and a landscape ecology model. The model would address the issue of integrating processes occurring at widely varying spatial and temporal scales. Although the model would be applied to Louisiana wetlands, it would not be site specific, and should be applicable to other regions with minimal effort. Special attention would be paid to algorithmic development so that the model would be architecture independent. This would be achieved by developing the model code using the Fortran 90 language with High Performance Fortran extensions, so that the model could be run on both uniprocessor and multiprocessor shared memory or distributed memory systems.


A stochastic weather generation model will be developed and calibrated using data archived at the Southern Regional Climate Center in LSU. The hydrologic and hydrodynamic components of the model will be calibrated and verified using river stage and tide gage data collected by the United States Geological Survey and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The landscape ecology model will be calibrated using satellite images and aerial photographs.

Expected Results:

The model will be used to study the climatological impacts on the hydrology and ecology of coastal Louisiana. The climatological scenarios include global warming due to increased CO2 emissions and sea level rise predicted by the global climate model. The results of this study should be of interest, to a broad spectrum of agencies and individual researchers who are involved in making scientific and management decisions regarding the protection, planning and restoration of wetlands. Expected contributions of this study are: improved understanding of the coupled interactions between the climatologic, hydrologic and ecologic factors at time scales of decades, and a first step towards the development of an effective tool for the management and restoration of ecosystems.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 4 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

global climate, coastal ecosystems, ecological modeling, regional climate model., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, Hydrology, climate change, State, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, Ecological Risk Assessment, wetlands, fish habitat, watershed, global change, Louisiana (LA), climate models, coastal ecosystems, aquatic ecology, global warming, land and water resources, climate variability, Global Climate Change

Progress and Final Reports:

2002 Progress Report
2003 Progress Report
2004 Progress Report
Final Report