The impacts of land cover change on local precipitation over the Land Between the Lakes region

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Jesse N. Winchester, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY; and R. Mahmood, W. Rodgers, E. Rappin, J. Durkee, F. Hossain, and A. Degu

Land cover (LC) and land cover changes (LCCs) play an important role in land atmosphere interactions. This study investigates potential impacts of the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) region of Kentucky and Tennessee on precipitation. To determine the impacts of the LBL we have changed the human-made lakes to land areas covered with grassland, broadleaf deciduous forest, and bare soils. We have used three precipitation events to address the overarching goal of this project. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model was used for these experiments. Analysis consisted of the assessment of spatial and diurnal patterns of modeled variables over the LBL and surrounding area which helped us to understand the processes and controlling mechanisms for precipitation under changed conditions in each simulation. These variables include 2-meter temperature, sensible and latent heat fluxes, equivalent potential temperature (moist static energy), horizontal and vertical wind vectors, planetary boundary layer (PBL) height, and heights of the lifted condensation level (LCL) and the level of free convection (LFC). The study finds that if we replaced the lakes with changed land cover, precipitation amount and location would be modified. In other words, the LBL plays an important role in local precipitation events.