Lauren E. Bortolotti


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Cooling Effects Revealed by Modeling of Wetlands and Land‐Atmosphere Interactions
Zhe Zhang, Fei Chen, Michael Barlage, Lauren E. Bortolotti, J. S. Famiglietti, Zhenhua Li, Ma Xiao, Yanping Li
Water Resources Research, Volume 58, Issue 3

Wetlands are important ecosystems—they provide vital hydrological and ecological services such as regulating floods, storing carbon, and providing wildlife habitat. The ability to simulate their spatial extents and hydrological processes is important for valuing wetlands' function. The purpose of this study is to dynamically represent the spatial extents and hydrological processes of wetlands and investigate their feedback to regional climate in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America, where a large number of wetlands exist. In this study, we incorporated a wetland scheme into the Noah-MP land surface model with two major modifications: (a) modifying the subgrid saturation fraction for spatial wetland extent and (b) incorporating a dynamic wetland storage to simulate hydrological processes. This scheme was evaluated at a fen site in central Saskatchewan, Canada and applied regionally in the PPR with 13-year climate forcing produced by a high-resolution convection-permitting model. The differences between wetland and no-wetland simulations are significant, with increasing latent heat and evapotranspiration while suppressing sensible heat and runoff in the wetland scheme. Finally, the dynamic wetland scheme was applied in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The wetlands scheme not only modifies the surface energy balance but also interacts with the lower atmosphere, shallowing the planetary boundary layer height and promoting cloud formation. A cooling effect of 1–3°C in summer temperature is evident where wetlands are abundant. In particular, the wetland simulation shows reduction in the number of hot days for >10 days over the summer of 2006, when a long-lasting heatwave occurred. This research has great implications for land surface/regional climate modeling and wetland conservation, especially in mitigating extreme heatwaves under climate change.


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Heterogeneous Changes to Wetlands in the Canadian Prairies Under Future Climate
Zhe Zhang, Lauren E. Bortolotti, Zhenhua Li, Llwellyn M. Armstrong, Tom W. Bell, Yanping Li
Water Resources Research, Volume 57, Issue 7

Numerous wetlands in the prairies of Canada provide important ecosystem services, yet are threatened by climate and land-use changes. Understanding the impacts of climate change on prairie wetlands is critical to effective conservation planning. In this study, we construct a wetland model with surface water balance and ecoregions to project future distribution of wetlands. The climatic conditions downscaled from the Weather Research and Forecasting model were used to drive the Noah-MP land surface model to obtain surface water balance. The climate change perturbation is derived from an ensemble of general circulation models using the pseudo global warming method, under the RCP8.5 emission scenario by the end of 21st century. The results show that climate change impacts on wetland extent are spatiotemporally heterogenous. Future wetter climate in the western Prairies will favor increased wetland abundance in both spring and summer. In the eastern Prairies, particularly in the mixed grassland and mid-boreal upland, wetland areas will increase in spring but experience enhanced declines in summer due to strong evapotranspiration. When these effects of climate change are considered in light of historical drainage, they suggest a need for diverse conservation and restoration strategies. For the mixed grassland in the western Canadian Prairies, wetland restoration will be favorable, while the highly drained eastern Prairies will be challenged by the intensified hydrological cycle. The outcomes of this study will be useful to conservation agencies to ensure that current investments will continue to provide good conservation returns in the future.


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Antagonistic, synergistic and direct effects of land use and climate on Prairie wetland ecosystems: Ghosts of the past or present?
Chrystal Mantyka‐Pringle, Lionel Leston, Dave Messmer, Elvis Asong, Erin M. Bayne, Lauren E. Bortolotti, Gregory Sekulic, H. S. Wheater, David W. Howerter, Robert G. Clark
Diversity and Distributions, Volume 25, Issue 12

AIM: Wetland loss and degradation threaten biodiversity to an extent greater than most ecosystems. Science‐supported responses require understanding of interacting effects of land use and climate change on wetland biodiversity. LOCATION: Alberta, Canada. METHODS: We evaluated how current climate, climate change (as a ghost of the past), land use and wetland water quality relate to aquatic macroinvertebrates and birds. RESULTS: Climatic relationships and climate–land use interactions were observed on chironomid abundance, but not macroinvertebrate taxa richness (MTR) or odonate abundance, which responded to land use and water chemistry. Chironomid abundance was positively associated with cropland and negatively associated with total precipitation. Higher cropland cover and dissolved organic carbon synergistically interacted with total precipitation to affect chironomids. MTR was negatively related to salinity, yet greater area of non‐woody riparian vegetation attenuated salinity effects on MTR. Odonate abundance was negatively related to total phosphorus. Higher grassland cover also increased the negative relationship of total phosphorous to odonate abundance. Climatic relationships and climate–land use interactions were observed on bird species richness (BSR) and abundance of several bird functional groups. Higher BSR and abundances of several bird groups were positively related to average rainfall and greater warming temperatures over time. Area of non‐crop cover and wetlands was positively associated with most bird groups and BSR. Warming temperatures over time ameliorated the negative relationship of higher cropland or less shrubland on aerial insectivores and other bird groups. MAIN CONCLUSIONS: Climate patterns and climate change are as important as land use pressures with stronger impacts on birds. Climate change was more influential than current climate and provided novel empirical evidence that progressively warmer, wetter conditions is benefiting some bird groups, including aerial insectivores, a group of conservation concern. Riparian vegetation ameliorated the negative impacts of climate and water quality gradients on MTR and could mitigate global change impacts in agricultural systems.