Modeling Watershed Hydrologic Response to Changes in Burn Severity Heterogeneity
Wildfire changes hydrologic properties such as vegetation cover and soil characteristics. These changes influence watershed energy fluxes and water balance partitioning, altering the rainfall-streamflow relationship. Additionally, burn severity manifests as a heterogeneous mosaic across the burned landscape and the spatial patterns that arise also impact postfire hydrology. While the effects of burn severity configuration have been explored at plot and hillslope scales, the watershed scale remains poorly understood. I propose using ParFlow-CLM – a fully coupled, surface-subsurface, distributed hydrological model – to simulate the hydrology for a single watershed under a range of burn severity configuration scenarios. This research will demonstrate an approach to modeling heterogeneity of fire effects in computational hydrology at the watershed scale and explore questions such as: (1) How does the overall magnitude of burn severity influence hydrologic response? and (2) How much variation can be attributed to burn severity spatial patterns?