89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009
Monitoring ecohydrological dynamics in the north american monsoon region from remote sensing and ground-based observations
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Luis Arturo Méndez-Barroso, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM; and E. Vivoni
Ecosystems provide essential socioeconomic and environmental benefits for human communities. For this reason, it is important to monitor natural ecosystems in order to manage their most valuable resources. In this study, we monitored several ecosystems on a large region in northern Sonora, Mexico by analyzing the change in several land surface variables, including vegetation greenness, albedo, land surface temperature and leaf area index from remote sensing observations (16-day MODIS composites). In addition, we enhanced our observations using a hydrometeorological network monitoring precipitation and soil moisture among different ecosystems. We focus most of the analysis on characterizing the dramatic land surface changes observed during the North American monsoon in the study region. In this context, we explore the relations between land surface conditions, accumulated rainfall and concurrent soil moisture observations. Based on time stability analysis, we also identify spatial patterns characterizing each of the major ecosystems and their degree of coupling with precipitation pulses. Our study points to the strong coupling between precipitation, soil moisture and surface processes in the North American monsoon. Results show strong seasonal and inter-annual differences in each of the analyzed variables across a range of ecosystems. The study results are important for managing ecosystems and water resources in a sustainable manner in northwest Mexico and the southwestern USA.

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