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America's colonial hydrologic history recreated
Date:12/1/2010

ttled largely by young, unskilled men who cleared trees and planted tobacco fencerow to fencerow. "This caused extensive erosion, which dramatically altered rivers," says Pastore.

The Middle Colonies were characterized by diverse social, cultural, and religious traditions and feudal-style estate agriculture.

Integration of human decision-making into analyses of land-cover change, engineering and climate change is fundamental to understanding subregional hydrologic patterns and how they interact, the scientists say.

They recommend two metrics for quantifying hydrologic change.

The first, which they call a simple water balance, takes into account precipitation, evapotranspiration, and water storage, which can be used to track changes in annual river discharge.

The second, termed mean water residence time, or the average time a water molecule spends in one place, can also be used to calculate the amount of water moving through a system.

The resulting information helps determine past water residence times, which in turn allow scientists to infer changes in the biogeochemistry of rivers and streams.

Many pathogens, or disease-causing organisms, are linked to water flows. An understanding of historical water residence times, says Pastore, may lead to new insights into how diseases are transmitted today.


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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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America's colonial hydrologic history recreated
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