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The effects of climate change and extreme wildfire events on runoff erosion over a mountain watershed


Mingliang Liu
Michael E. Barber
Keith A. Cherkauer
Jennifer C. Adam



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station


Journal of Hydrology. 536: 74-91.


Increases in wildfire occurrence and severity under an altered climate can substantially impact terrestrial ecosystems through enhancing runoff erosion. Improved prediction tools that provide high resolution spatial information are necessary for location-specific soil conservation and watershed management. However, quantifying the magnitude of soil erosion and its interactions with climate, hydrological processes, and fire occurrences across a large region (>10,000 km2) is challenging because of the large computational requirements needed to capture the fine-scale complexities of the land surface that govern erosion. We apply the physically-based coupled Variable Capacity Infiltration-Water Erosion Prediction Project (VIC-WEPP) model to study how wildfire occurrences can enhance soil erosion in a future climate over a representative watershed in the northern Rocky Mountains - the Salmon River Basin (SRB) in central Idaho. While the VIC model simulates hydrologic processes at larger scales, the WEPP model simulates erosion at the hillslope scale by sampling representative hillslopes.


Gould Gregory K.; Liu, Mingliang; Barber, Michael E.; Cherkauer, Keith A.; Robichaud, Peter R.; Adam, Jennifer C. 2016. The effects of climate change and extreme wildfire events on runoff erosion over a mountain watershed. Journal of Hydrology. 536: 74-91.


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