Extreme weather events are costly, deadly, uproot people from their homes, and can have devastating effects on human life, health and the economy. They are also a natural part of variability in our climate and play a role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The purpose of this talk is to quantify the impact of extreme events on regional carbon, energy and water budgets.
Using a high-resolution land-surface hydrology model coupled to apredictive phenology model, we simulate how vegetation canopies respond to changes inatmospheric and soil conditions as a result of extreme events. Specific applications of thecoupled hydrology-phenology modeling framework include evaluating the importance ofhurricane rainfall to regional carbon and water budgets in the Southeast U.S., assessing the role that vegetation water use strategies play in the evolution of flash drought events, and quantifying the impacts of wildfires in humid climates on the carbon and energybudgets. A key finding is that the magnitude of the change in the carbon cycle as a result of these extreme events are similar, while the governing processes may be vastly different. This work highlights the need to understand how vegetation processes modulate carbon, energy, and water fluxes toward the goal of managing and maintaining healthy ecosystems.