The National Science Foundation will continue to fund a UC Merced research facility that studies how mountain water flows as the climate changes, according to researchers. The federal agency awarded UC Merced with $5 million to continue work on studying the water, forests, and climate of the Sierra Nevada for another five years, said professor and CITRIS researcher Roger Bales, who also heads the university’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute. Results from the observatory program, which started in 2007, have led to a better understanding of the amount of mountain rain and snow to return to the atmosphere through forest vegetation, according to researchers. The observatory also studies how various soil and bedrock properties control the flux of water.
The mission of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute is “to discover and disseminate new knowledge that contributes to sustaining natural resources and promoting social health and well-being in the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada regions of California, and related regions worldwide, through integrated research in natural science, social and engineering sciences.”
Faculty, researchers, and students in the Sierra Nevada Research Institute conduct basic and applied research using the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada as their “outdoor laboratory” in the following areas: sustainable water and land management, drought, wildfire, air, water and soil pollution, and climate change and competing land uses.
Photo courtesy: Roger Wyan