Advisor: Ron Smith
I propose to investigate the different climate feedbacks triggered by the 2009 drought in Argentina, and their dependence on local climatological and geographical conditions. The goal of this research is to determine where and how different climate feedbacks occur, as well as find and understand the underlying causes that determine their relative importance in different geographical regions.
The study will be accomplished through a combination of remote sensing and in-situ measurements. I will use satellite data to observe land surface temperature and NDVI changes, to determine the dependence of albedo (as one of the feedback mechanisms) on changing land cover. While satellite imagery is expected to provide a plethora of information on the region in question, I will also supplement and cross-check it with conventional climatology data and reanalysis data. For example, conventional climatology data (the time series of temperature and wind speed measurements) will allow the computation of evapotranspiration, which has been shown to be one of the main factors in land-atmosphere interactions (Eltahir 1998). Reanalysis data will allow me to obtain the incoming radiation fluxes over the region. These will be used to compute the changes in surface heat budget and/or land-atmosphere energy transfer.In addition, I will use a regional climate model to simulate the drought effects and study the ensuing feedbacks. Based on the cited sources and preliminary results, I expect to observe a change in land-atmosphere interactions. I further expect to find different feedback mechanisms at work depending on the land cover type and climate conditions, a dependence which this project will quantify.