This section summarizes the activities in each of the LSAs as they relate to the GCIP Objectives and the significant characteristics of each LSA.

The LSA-SW has received high emphasis for the GCIP activities continued to receive a high emphasis through the end of Water Year (WY) 1997 as was shown in Figure 1-2. The LSA-NC (North Central) was added as a high emphasis area starting in the WY 1997 with the LSA-E (East) added in WY 1998, and the LSA-NW added in WY 1999. The CSA is scheduled to have major emphasis during the three Water Years covered by this Major Activities Plan.

7.1 LSA-SW

The geographical area of responsibility for the NOAA/NWS River Forecast Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is used to define the areas of the Arkansas-Red River basins for the LSA-SW. For atmospheric modeling and other applications, a more regular-shaped area is defined by the boundaries of 33 to 40N latitude and 91 to 107W longitude. This latitude-longitude bounded area, shown in Figure 7-1, is referred to as the LSA-SW.


Figure 7-1 Latitude-longitude boundaries for LSA-SW encompassing the Arkansas-Red River basin.

7.1.1 Significant Features in the LSA-SW

The large east-west gradients of climate variables, especially precipitation, coupled with the unusually diverse mix of atmospheric and surface hydrological data were the principal reasons for selecting the LSA-SW for the GCIP build-up period and the first two years of the EOP. In addition to the large east-west variation in climate, four other environmental features are significant:

The meteorological and hydrological networks covering the Mississippi River basin are enhanced by new Weather Service Radar 88-Doppler (WSR-88D) radars, wind profilers, and automatic weather stations. Enhancements to these observing networks are also available in the form of mesoscale networks and the ARM Program at the southern Great Plains CART facility (see Figure 7-1).

Commonality of research interests between GCIP, ARM, and ISLSCP form the basis for unique observational and data analysis opportunities within the ARM/CART site. From the GCIP perspective, the ARM/CART site is large enough (almost 105 km2) and is well enough instrumented for approximate closure of the atmospheric energy and water budgets. The size of the ARM/CART area places it at the lower end of the LSA range. Therefore, some LSA studies can be done over the ARM/CART area as well as over the entire LSA-SW area.

Within the ARM/CART site, the opportunities to conduct ISA studies are numerous. At the ISA scale, precipitation and streamflow can be measured accurately and, although the areal average evapotranspiration cannot be measured, extensive in situ surface measurements related to evapotranspiration or soil moisture are being made as part of ARM, ISLSCP, the Oklahoma Mesonet, NOAA/NWS observations, and other programs such as CASES. The ARM/CART site also includes a range of climate, soils, and vegetation regimes and is therefore an attractive location for the development and validation of remote-sensing algorithms.

An example of an option for locating an SSA, where significant historical data are available, is the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Little Washita/Chickasha experimental watershed. This watershed is on the southern boundary of the ARM/CART site (see Figure 7-1). It could be especially important in developing parameterizations of runoff, infiltration, percolation, and soil moisture.

7.1.2 LSA-SW Activities during WY'98-WY'00

Since 1993, GCIP has been working in cooperation with other projects and activities in the Arkansas-Red River basin to compile integrated data sets. These include the Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement(ARM) program, the Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Research Service and the U.S. Geological Survey Mapping and Water Resources Divisions. GCIP has also supported enhancements to existing observation networks to obtain observations crucial for studying and modeling land surface processes and the coupling of these processes with the atmosphere. The support for soil moisture and soil temperature profile measurements in the Southern Great Plains ARM/CART site and the Little Washita Watershed is particularly noteworthy.

The full complement of observing systems needed for the Near-Surface Observation Dataset , described in Section 10 were operating by the end of March 1997. A second phase of data collection for this special data set began on 1 April 1997 and will continue for at least one full year. As in the first phase the data collection effort is concentrating on the ARM/CART site and the Little Washita Watershed.

The implementation strategy given in Volume II of the GCIP Implementation Plan (IGPO 1994a) envisioned that the LSA-SW activities will continue although at somewhat less intensity beyond 1997. This continuing effort will provide GCIP investigators with a 5-yr data set for the LSA-SW and with the same length data set for some of the ISAs and SSAs within the area. The five years of effort in the LSA-SW will also enable the GCIP investigators to benefit from this data rich subregion to the maximum extent possible during the EOP.

7.2 LSA-NC

The second year of the EOP in WY 1997 marked the start of focused studies within the Upper Mississippi River basin, identified as LSA-NC (see Figure 7-2). This LSA extends into southern Canada and provides an opportunity for cooperative efforts with the Canadian GEWEX Program. A regular-shaped area is defined by the boundaries of 37 to 50N and 85 to 99W longitude as shown in Figure 7-2.


Figure 7-2 Latitude-longitude boundaries for LSA-NC encompassing the Upper Mississippi River basin.

7.2.1 Characteristics of the LSA-NC

The features important to GCIP in this LSA include the following:

Cold-season hydrology involves consideration of the dormant state of vegetation, the nature of evaporation-sublimation loss, the effect of soil conditions (especially frozen soil) on runoff, infiltration, and most importantly, the snow cycle. A prerequisite for the improvement of the parameterization of snow hydrological processes is an improved database of relevant variables. A program for improved documentation of snow cover, water content, and albedo over the LSA-NC is exploiting all available information from in situ, aircraft, and satellite observations from the region. The SSAs established within the Upper Mississippi River basin for study are providing additional data on the vertical variation of snow thermal properties and on the hydrological and thermal conditions of the underlying soil layer that are relevant to the development of improved snow hydrology and soil moisture parameterizations. Several locations are suitable for SSA in the LSA-NC. The USGS operates an interdisciplinary research institute for hydrological research in the Shingobe River headwaters area of northern Minnesota. The USDA/ARS operates an experimental station in Morris, Minnesota and the University of Minnesota operates an experimental agriculture area near St. Paul, Minnesota. Other areas include the Illinois Climate Network operated by the Illinois State Water Survey.

7.2.2 LSA-NC Activities

The Major Activities Plan for 1996, 1997, and Outlook for 1998 for GCIP (IGPO 1995a) contained two appendices relevant to planning for research in the LSA-NC:

Following this Detailed Design Workshop in Minneapolis, MN in October 1995, the GCIP Project set up a LSA-NC Science/Implementation Taskgroup to take the results of these two workshops as initial input to recommend a specific set of research activities which will best utilize the existing infrastructure and other relevant research projects in the LSA-NC with due consideration of both the future GCIP plans for research in other LSAs in the Mississippi River basin .

These results were used by a LSA-NC Science/Implementation Taskgroup to develop recommendations for specific activities during WY'97. A second meeting of the Taskgroup in February 1997 reviewed the status of the earlier recommendations and recommended further actions during WY'98. The report of the LSA-NC Science/Implementation Taskgroup is given in Appendix D. The Data Collection and Management (DACOM) Committee has used this Taskgroup report as a basis for the Tactical Data Collection and Management Plan for the ESOP-98. A summary of data collection plans is given in Section 10.

7.3 LSA-E

Focused studies within the Ohio River basin, identified as LSA-E (see Figure 7-3) will be emphasized by GCIP starting in Wy- 98 as the third year of the EOP. This LSA extends eastward to encompass most of the Appalachian Mountains. A regular-shaped area is defined by the boundaries 33-43 N. latitude and 78 to 89 W. Longitude.


Figure 7-3 Latitude-longitude boundaries for LSA-E encompassing the Ohio and Tennessee River basins.

7.3.1 Characteristics of the LSA-E

The features important to GCIP in this LSA include the following:

The characteristics of the major river basins in the LSA-E are:

7.3.2 LSA-E Activities

In preparation for this new focus study region, NASA scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama worked with scientists from neighboring institutions to organize some GCIP-related activities in the Tennessee Valley region. Focus of the work is on establishing a SSA within the Tennessee Valley region and defining the important hydrometeorological, biophysical and landscape science issues that need to be addressed to support GCIP activities within this SSA. Foremost will be to expand cooperative relationships between institutions such as the Global Hydrology Climate Center (GHCC), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to better draw upon the rich data and science expertise resources available within the Tennessee Valley region for conducting GCIP-related investigations within the LSA-E. One of the real advantages in working in the Tennessee Valley is the ability to explore the interrelationships of GCIP science issues with the applied interests of the TVA in reservoir operations, management, and electric power production.

A discussion paper was compiled by Dale Quattrochi as a precursor to the GCIP/LSA-E Detailed Design Workshop held in November 1996 at Huntsville, AL. The discussion paper presents both opportunities and challenges for conducting research to better understand how hydrologic, atmospheric, and hydrometeorological processes are manifested and operate in the eastern portion of the Mississippi River basin. A final version of this paper is available on the World Wide Web through the GCIP Home Page. The LSA-E region offers an opportunity to compare and contrast hydrologic processes operating within a temperate, humid climatic region, with the same processes operating in very different climatic environments in the LSA-SW, NC and NW. The comparative differences with the other three LSAs offers an opportunity to learn something about the atmospheric-hydrologic linkages within the GCIP region as well as to extend and validate the methods and models used in the LSA-SW and LSA-NC to the LSA-E. Moreover, the LSA-E provides a challenging environment to develop and test nested modeling approaches for addressing atmospheric, hydrologic, hydrometeorologic, and land surface scaling issues. The LSA-E region also offers the opportunity to address the human dimensions of climate change on hydrology within the Mississippi River basin, particularly those impacts associated with the operational or long-term management of water resources.

The workshop recommended a number of research activities that should be accomplished in the LSA-E as major contributors to the successful accomplishment of the GCIP Science Objectives. In particular, the hydrometeorological prediction and water resources management group recommended a set of experimental activities for both the Ohio and Tennessee River basins. A summary report of the LSA-E Detailed Design Workshop is given in Appendix C. This report forms the basis for the definition of specific implementation tasks to be carried out during Water Years 1998 and 1999.

7.4 LSA-NW

The LSA-NW encompassing the Missouri River basin is the fourth and last LSA for focused studies in the Mississippi River basin . This region was the last to receive the WSR-88D radar systems and also is the most data sparse region in the Mississippi River basin.

7.4.1 Significant Features in the LSA-NW

The general characteristics of this region, especially the northwestern portion, are, that it is snowmelt dominated and is mostly semi-arid. Some important characteristics are thin winter snowpacks and short vegetation amenable to aircraft and satellite remote sensing. Additional features important to GCIP in this LSA include the following:

A regular shaped area is defined by the boundaries of 39 to 51 N latitude and 90 to 114 W longitude as shown in Figure 7-4.

The LSA-NW offers an excellent test of the transferability of developed models and retrieval algorithms from the other three LSAs. The transferability of results is a very significant issue in determining the success of GCIP results with respect to worldwide applications and to climate modeling on a global scale.


Figure 7-4 Latitude-longitude boundaries for LSA-NW encompassing the Missouri River basin.

7.4.2 LSA-NW Activities for WY'99

An early start on planning and proposing GCIP relevant studies in the Upper Missouri River basin is being made by a group led by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. This group is proposing a plan for a collaborative pilot research project to integrate scientific resources in the Upper Missouri River basin to address questions of fundamental importance related to orographic effects on precipitation, especially in the cold seasons; coupled modeling to include "deep" groundwater in subsurface aquifiers; and the effects of spatial and temporal variability on the ISA scale on atmospheric water budgets in complex terrain. An IOP to acquire intensive observations of atmospheric components of the water budget is planned for the spring of 1998; accompanying surface and subsurface data will be provided by the ongoing Black Hills Hydrology Study directed by the USGS Water Resources Division. Significant episodes from the IOP will then be simulated using a high-resolution mesoscale coupled model developed by scientists at the South Dakota School of Mines from existing mesoscale atmospheric , surface and subsurface models. A detailed design workshop to plan activities for the LSA-NW EOP is planned for the fall of 1998.

7.5 CSA Activities for 1998 to 2000

The implementation of GCIP research is focusing initially on sub-basins of the Mississippi River basin leading to an integrated continental-scale capability by the end of the five year enhanced observing period in the year 2000.

The CSA data requirements in the early years of the EOP are primarily for the application of energy and water budget studies with a secondary application of model evaluation for the regional model output. The specific CSA activities during 1998 and 1999 will depend upon the support for regional activities in the LSA-E and the LSA-NW during these years. Some early plans are being formulated for a Mississippi River Basin Experiment (MIRBEX) starting as early as 1999. These plans will be further developed after the LSA-E and LSA-NW research support issues are better defined.