Southeast Regional Assessment Project (SERAP)

SERAP will convert a suite of global models into regional climate projections and develop landscape change datasets that can be used to project the likely changes to the Southeast’s climate and ecosystems.


The USGS is deploying state-of-the science statistics to identify the parameters in global models that are most likely to affect the Southeast region’s climate and local landscape dynamics. Decision makers will be provided with information about low-probability, highimpact climate extremes. The downscaled models then can be used by other SERAP research teams to conduct their assessments of regional change.

Relative Sea Level Rise

To estimate local rates of sea-level rise along the Southeast’s Gulf Coast, the USGS is factoring in parameters to represent local processes that affect land-surface elevation and other types of ecosystem changes. The team will design new tools for decision makers to visualize and assess change in coastal regions where a combination of inundation, land loss, and habitat change already is occurring and is expected to continue.

Inferring Changes to Habitat

The USGS is integrating models of urbanization and vegetation dynamics with the regional climate models to assess how landscape change could impact priority species. Models for North American land birds, for example, can predict locations where responses to climate change are most likely to occur, expressing results in terms of species persistence to help resource managers understand the long-term sustainability of bird populations. The basic modeling techniques can be applied later to other taxonomic groups.

Streams and Aquatic Habitat

Aquatic habitat is sensitive to streamflow, so the USGS is assessing how climate change can affect land cover and flow in river systems. The project team will experiment with a variety of resolutions for linking hydrology and land-cover data for analyzing streams in the Apalachicola–Chattahoochee–Flint watershed to improve the ability to detect and project the condition of aquatic habitats. Decision makers will be consulted to determine priority species so that species-specific models can be developed and used to assess the vulnerability of fishes and mussels to climate change.

Optimizing Conservation

The USGS will work with stakeholders and managers across the Southeast to identify and assess landscapelevel strategies for conserving multiple species. These strategies will incorporate predictions from downscaled climate models, sea-level rise, and changes to aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

Data Dissemination

The USGS is creating a Web-based data platform to readily share data and results from the SERAP. The platform also will host a comprehensive data library of high-resolution climate change projections for the continental United States that take into account a range of predictions.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010