Last Updated 14 Apr 2020

Land Cover And Climate Change In Minnesota Environmental Sciences Essay

Category Environment, science
Essay type Research
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Table of contents

Anthropogenic land usage alteration is an of import issue in planetary alteration surveies. Population growing has resulted in an of all time increasing demand for nutrient, which is in bend resulted in a world-wide enlargement and intensification of cropland and grazing land ( Turner et al. , 1990 ) . Most of the clip, this enlargement took topographic point at the cost of natural primary grassland and wood ( Goldewijk, 2001 ) .

Changes in land screen have considerable impact on local and regional clime, including regional air temperature, hydrological cycling and biogeochemical cycling. Vegetation features like rooting deepness, canopy denseness, flora tallness and evaportranspiration rate ( stomata conductance ) can all impact the regional clime.

Land screen alteration can modify the land surface reflective power, therefore change the energy balance of the Earth surface. Both leaf colour and canopy denseness contribute to albedo. If the homo induced cropland/pasture has higher reflective power, so the Earth surface will reflect more solar radiation and absorb less. The surface temperature of the Earth will be reduced, frailty versa.

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Cropland normally has higher evaportranspiration rate than natural grassland. Thus an country modified from natural grassland to cropland, for illustration, may increase the local H2O vaporization rate. The dirt will be drier due to higher evaportranspiration rate, but it is difficult to state if the precipitation will increase or diminish in this part harmonizing to increased H2O vaporization rate, because it is depending on the air circulation form of this part, excessively.

The hydrological rhythm and the energy rhythm are non independent from each other. The stage alteration of H2O affect the energy rhythm through absorbing and let go ofing latent heat.

Wind form may alter due to set down screen alteration. When a natural wood is cut down to turn harvests, for illustration, the surface raggedness will be mostly changed. Wind velocity within this part, as a consequence, will increase because of decreased shear emphasis & A ; Acirc ; at the surface.

Change of land screen besides affects the green house emanation of the ecosystem to the ambiance.

2. Evidences of Land Cover Change of Minnesota over the past 300 old ages

2.1 Historical archive

In 1837, land of Minnesota was purchased from the Sioux Indians around the St. Croix River. Lumbermans and husbandmans settled the first little towns of Minnesota, including St. Paul, St Anthony ( Minneapolis ) , and Stillwater.

In late 1800s, wheat farms were started in southern Minnesota and Minneapolis became one of the universe & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s taking flour centres.

In 1878, 68.98 % of tilled land in Minnesota devoted to wheat production, the high point for wheat husbandmans in Minnesota.

2.2 Land Survey

Surveyors puting out Minnesota 's public land study system in 1848-1907 recorded the size and species of the larger trees they used as markers ( bearing trees ) , every bit good as general descriptions of the physical geographics of the landscape they traversed. Although non a complete flora study, the General Land Office records provide much valuable item about how the province looked at the clip of European colony.

Figure 1 describes land screen informations from the mid-1800s, as recorded at the clip of European colony. & A ; Acirc ; The southern and western parts of the province are natural prairie. Oak gaps and aspen-oak lands, in assorted sunglassess of brown, expanse from the Northwest to the sou'-east. The northern wood in northeast portion of the province is a rag carpet of leafy vegetables, blues, violet-pinks, and greies.


Figure 1 Minnesota Early Settlement Vegetation. Before Settlement, the West lodger and southwest portion of Minnesota is largely covered by prairie. Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //

& A ; Acirc ; This map is besides known as the Marschner map. It outlines merely how much of the province was one time wet prairie, oak gaps, Big Woods, assorted hardwood, or any of a twelve other vegetive types that have been absolutely changed by 19th- and 20th-century human habitation.

2.3 Proxy informations

Fossil pollen informations are chiefly a placeholder for works copiousnesss and community composing. Pollen records have been used to gauge the flora alterations over North America ( Grimm, 2001 ; Williams et al. , 2007 ; Wright et al. , 2004 ) ; unluckily, pollen informations have been of small usage peculiarly for the appraisal of human impacts on flora and land screen ( Anderson et al. , 2006 ; Gaillard et al. , 2008 ) . Alternatively, Goldewijk 2001 used human population denseness as a proxy index to gauge the planetary cropland distribution and generated a planetary land screen alteration map during last 300 twelvemonth ( Figure 2 ) .

past 300 years.png

Figure 2 Global Land screen alteration during last 300 old ages adapted from ( Goldewijk, 2001 ) .If expression at Upper Midwest of United States, we can see that the biggest alteration happened between 1800 and 1900, which is precisely the clip of European Settlement.

2.4 Modern land screen in Minnesota and decision of Land usage alteration

The land screen of Minnesota in 2000 is shown in Figure 3. Up to 44 % of the province is taken up by agricultural land. Most of the prairie in Figure 1 has been changed into harvest land. We can seldom see original native prairie now in this province.


Figure 3 Land Cover of Minnesota in 2000. Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Based on the historical archive, land study and placeholder informations, we can reason that the land screen of Minnesota experienced a monolithic alteration from native prairie to cropland largely in the West lodger and southwest portion of the province. This is largely due to anthropogenetic alteration during early colony.

3. Evidences of Climate Change of Minnesota over past 300 old ages

3.1 Historical Archive

In 1894, a monolithic wood fire caused by distinct logging dust encompasses Hinckley, MN.

In 1899, Minnesota 's timber industry reaches its extremum.

In 1900, Virginia, Minnesota destroyed by fire once more.

In 1918, Cloquet and Moose Lake, Minnesota are destroyed by fire.

From historical archive, we can deduce that in early 1900s, Minnesota was dry. Fire frequence additions if the environing air is drier. If this premise is right, so we can inquire the inquiry: Is land screen change the cause of this waterlessness in early 1900 in Minnesota?

3.2 Instrumental informations

Instrumental information in this part goes back to 1890. Although there is no clime informations before colony, we can still acquire an thought how the clime looks like after the colony.

For air temperature, we can see that the fluctuation of province broad one-year mean temperature has increased from 40.5oC to around 42oC during the last 120 old ages. The inter-annual fluctuation is about 0.4oC. Although the tendency is acquiring heater, the hottest twelvemonth did non demo up late but was 1932, around 0.5oC above normal.

instrumental temperature.png

Figure Minnesota province averaged one-year temperature. Red line is one-year temperature. Solid green line is mean over the full period. Dashed green line is the standard divergence. The bluish stars are the running means. This information is from Minnesota province climatology office-DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, University of Minnesota. Link: hypertext transfer protocol: // 2106

instrumental precipitation.png

Figure 5 Instrumental informations of Minnesota one-year precipitation. Symbols are the same as in Figure 4.

Precipitation dropped dramatically in the period of 1895 to 1935. After that precipitation bit by bit increased to a normal value. The bead of precipitation in late 1800s and early 1900s may hold something to make with the land screen alteration. However, we need more grounds to turn out that. We need the clime record before colony to compare with the instrumental information to see if this tendency from 1895 to 1935 is caused by land screen alteration or clime fluctuation.

In order to reply the inquiry how land screen alteration has an impact on the regional clime in Minnesota, we need to happen alternate tools and proxy informations.

4. Possible placeholder informations and tool that could be used in this survey

4.1 Stable C isotope of tree rings

The inter-annual waterlessness wetness differences and the microclimate displacement during a turning season have impacts on the tree ring stable isotope signature. There are two stable isotopes for C: 12C and 13C. Due to their different neutron Numberss, they have different weight. When workss carry oning photosynthesis, it is easier for them to repair the lighter carbon- 12C, and left more and more 13C in the air. This is called favoritism consequence. This favoritism consequence gives the works a more negative isotope signature: . The isotope signature is calculated as: . Here means the sample we are examine ( e.g. tree pealing fragment ) . is a invariable, which is a planetary criterion that all of the isotope ratios over the universe can compare to.

When the environing air becomes drier, the works pore will be smaller to forestall H2O loss. This besides prevents CO2 from come ining the works leaves. Under this circumstance, the works will cut down its favoritism consequence, which makes itself more positive ( Figure 6, Leavitt, 2007 ) .


Figure 6 The relationship between C isotope ratio and regional waterlessness

4.2 Using Model to imitate how land screen alteration will impact regional clime

Numeral surveies have been focused on how land screen alteration will modify local to regional clime. Among other surveies, Bonan 1997 utilizing LSM1.0 coupled with an atmospheric general circulation theoretical account to imitate effects of land usage alteration on the clime of United States. He considered non merely the grassland to cropland transition in cardinal North America, but besides deforestation and harvest planting in the Eastern United States. What he has found, nevertheless, is a small spot different from our hypothesis: dampening of the near-surface ambiance by 0.5 to 1.5 g kg1 over much of the United States in spring and summer. These alterations in surface temperature and wet extend good into the ambiance, up to 500 megabit, and impact the boundary bed and atmospheric circulation.


To reason, land usage alteration affects on regional clime from different facets. In order to understand how land usage alteration in Minnesota has modified the regional clime, more proxy information is needed to widen the instrumental information thirster. Besides, theoretical accounts can be used to prove our apprehension of the mechanism, besides give us opportunity to retrace the old clime.

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