California Wildfires and Coastal Water Quality

WebEx Info:

Meeting number (access code): 2763 605 8634
Meeting password: YFnWTsu3M24

Coastal waters are hotspots of oceanic primary production that are extremely sensitive to changes in terrestrial hydrology and oceanic circulation. As climate change progresses, changing precipitation patterns and increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires, it is imperative to quantify and predict the effects of wildfires on watersheds and coastal ecosystems. Vegetation loss, reduced infiltration, and increased erosion in wildfire-impacted areas can significantly alter surface runoff from terrestrial watersheds into coastal waters. Shifts in the turbidity of riverine discharges associated with wildfires alter sediment export to the coast, which in turn alters light and nutrient availability for primary producers. This study applies a catchment-scale watershed model to simulate discharges and sediment loads from the Malibu Creek watershed to the Pacific Ocean before and after the 2018 Woolsey Fire in an effort to quantitatively constrain fire-related changes in coastal sediment export. Results from this study will improve understanding of local drivers of sediment transport and advance modeling capabilities of wildfire disturbance scenarios, which can assist coastal resource managers and community members with fire-response planning.

About the speaker:
Amanda (Mandy) Mulcan Lopez is a geoscience researcher in the Water and Ecosystems group at JPL. Her current research focuses on using watershed modeling and NASA remote sensing data to study water quality, coastal ecology, and marine resource management. Mandy joined JPL in 2021 after completing her Ph.D. in geology at the University of Houston, where she studied the biogeochemical cycling of trace metal contaminants in Galveston Bay estuary. 

07/07/2022 - 12:00
Amanda Mulcan Lopez