Insolation, Precipitation, and Moisture Maps for a Virginia Geographic Information System
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Climate variables estimated for each month of the year were solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration. Map layers for combined temperature and precipitation, and a moisture index were also created.
Accuracy of the estimates for temperature and precipitation for each 300 m x 300 m pixel were quantitatively assessed. The methods used estimated mean monthly temperature within 1 degree C. Precipitation estimates were within 9 mm of actual recorded value. The estimates for monthly solar radiation were qualitatively assessed, and provided a reason able relative index to actual solar radiation. Estimates of potential evapotranspiration were determined to be reasonably accurate.
Landscape-scale estimated climate factors were used in 2 case studies. The first used logistic regression to examine the importance of climate factors to the observed distribution of 21 select forest cover-types in Virginia. The second compared the observed climate characteristics for the distributions of 3 species of terrestrial salamanders in Virginia. Winter temperature was the most important climate variable in determining forest cover-type distribution. Several differences in the climate characteristics of the 3 salamander distributions were observed and discussed. The conclusions of this study were that landscape-scale climate factors can be accurately estimated, and the estimates may be helpful in ecological investigations.
- Masters Theses