89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009: 11:30 AM
Impact of land cover change on climatic variables in Central America
Room 129B (Phoenix Convention Center)
Vani Starry Manoharan, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and R. Welch, D. K. Ray, R. O. Lawton, T. L. Sever, D. Irwin, and R. Griffin
The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) is an ambitious effort to stem and turn back the erosion of biodiversity in Central America, one of the world's biologically richest regions. The intent is to connect large existing parks and reserves with new protected areas by means of an extensive network of biological corridors. Ecosystems and Holdridge Life Zones, varying from subtropical montane forests to tropical dry low lands, have been examined for this region to determine if the protected regions and proposed corridors are viable, based upon trend analysis from Terra MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) (2000-2008), together with the GOES - E imager and long-term archived rain gauge measurements. Overall, dry season rainfall is markedly lower in deforested areas than in forested areas of the same life zone. In general, deforested habitats have higher daytime temperatures, are less cloudy, have lower estimated soil moisture and lower values of NDVI than do forested habitats in the same life zone. However, the magnitude of these variations depends strongly upon both ecosystem type and Holdridge Life Zone. These studies provide knowledge on management and conservation of the existing ecosystems.

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