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Hedging Rule at the Catchment Scale

Presentation Date
Friday, December 16, 2022 at 8:12am - Friday, December 16, 2022 at 8:18am
Online Only



Plants are a vital part of both water and carbon cycles and hence the climate dynamics. Plants also provide a critical base for human and animal food chains. Access to water is essential for plants to survive. Similar to us human beings, it is crucial for plants to balance between water supply and demand at the watershed scale, a task that will be increasingly difficult as climate change is projected to cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme climate events, particularly droughts. An extensively used water management strategy by humans is known as a hedging rule. Hedging comes from the field of finance, where it means offsetting potential losses/gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. In terms of water supply, the hedging strategy refers to reserving water for possible shortages in the future by allowing short-term water deficits in order to achieve an overall maximum in water availability in the long term. A recent hydrologic study has suggested that natural watersheds may utilize a hedging-rule strategy for controlling their evapotranspiration under different amounts and frequencies of precipitation. It is not unreasonable to infer plants may adopt a strategy similar to hedging-rule since plants play a vital role in the hydrological cycle at the watershed scale. When facing minor or moderate droughts, plants may reduce their water use by losing some leaves or closing their stomata, and thus save some water for future severe and fatal droughts. To analyze this the CAMELS dataset will be used to identify periods of drought over the range of 1980 to 2014. The CAMELS dataset is ideal as it contains precipitation and streamflow data of 671 natural catchments in the continental United States. The dataset will be selected to choose catchments with at least 15 years of continuous data. Droughts will be identified on a per catchment basis using the threshold method rather than a drought indexing method. Additional datasets may be employed as needed to supplement vegetation response in the form of evapotranspiration as this is also a vector through which droughts can be identified.

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