Regional Climate

The first subproject assesses the impact of land use and land cover change on the hydrological cycle of the study area to estimate the degree to which precipitation and surface climate change are impacted by deforestation and global climate change.  We hypothesize that the distribution of regional land cover and global climate will affect precipitation and surface climate in the settlements of the western Brazilian Amazon.

Research Strategy

Two models will be used to simulate the climate at high spatial resolution: the Simplified Simple Biosphere (SSiB) model, which simulates land surface processes like soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and canopy air temperature; and the coupled atmosphere-land surface Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)/SSiB regional model, which will be used to assess changes in the atmospheric and surface water budget for the study area.  The climate model will allow for simulations of land and atmosphere across the western Brazilian Amazon at a scale of 3 kilometers. These simulations will aid examination the effects of changes in land-cover and land-use on precipitation and surface climate (temperature, wind, and soil moisture) over the past 30 years


Land use and land cover change data will be collected to run climate model simulations.

  1. MAPBIOMAS land cover data are available from 1985-2017 and will be used to drive the land surface model.

  2. Global Land Surface Satellites (GLASS) dataset provides information on the seasonal state of the vegetation in the study area (vegetation cover fraction and leaf-area index), 1982 to 2014.

  3. Initial and 6-hourly lateral boundary information including sea surface temperature for all model simulations will be taken from the ERA-interim dataset

Methods and Activities

The WRF/SSiB land-atmosphere coupled model will be employed to quantify the impacts of land use and land cover change and global climate on precipitation at regional and local scales in Rondônia.  Regional modeling studies of the atmosphere indicate that domain size and physics options play an important role in model performance and simulation results. Figure to the left depicts a possible domain configuration to be used in the project. A series of four modeling experiments will be performed to investigate the impacts of LULCC on Rondônia’s precipitation and surface climate.