Climate Research and Development ProgramClimate R&D Program

Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB)

Loch Vale winter crossing, CO
Loch Vale winter crossing, CO

The USGS Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) project was launched in 1991 with five sites in ecosystems ranging from tropical rainforest to alpine tundra. Our research centers on three themes: (1) observation of hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes across contrasting landscapes and analysis of how these fundamentally important cycles respond to climate variability and landscape change; (2) enhanced measurement of organic and inorganic carbon (C) fluxes in aquatic environments, using continuous in-stream sensors coupled with conventional sampling and lab analysis, to foster improved understanding of the role of freshwater carbon fluxes in the global carbon budget; and (3), synthesis of WEBB measurements and understanding of water budget components to develop models to predict potential changes in water availability in response to climate change.

Why is this research important?

Since its inception, the objective of the WEBB project has been to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research to improve understanding of processes controlling exchange of water, energy, and solutes among atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. The WEBB program uses the "small watershed approach", which takes advantage of well-defined hydrologic inputs and outputs and well-quantified basin characteristics of small watersheds to develop the critical link between plot-scale studies and large regional surveys and monitoring programs. This link then supports the effort to inform the public, government and land managers on the issues facing water supplies and provides them with the specifics needed to perform the needed action.

Project Leads: Brent Aulenbach, David Clow, Sheila Murphy, Martha Scholl, Jamie Shanley, John Walker, Kim Wickland
Project Team: Ann Chalmers, John Crawford, Krista Hood, Randy Hunt, Alisa Mast, Manuel Rosario, Graham Sexstone, Elliott Stahl, Angel Torres, George Aiken, Rob Striegl, Mark Dornblaser, Colin Penn, Anna Mckee, Jeff Riley

Related Projects:
   Loch Vale
   Luquillo
   Panola
   Trout Lake
   Sleepers

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