1. Suppose that as a result of global warming, an invasion of sagebrush into montane meadows occurs. This problem concerns the effect of that invasion on regional climate. Whereas sagebrush now occupies 5% of the land area in Gunnison County, CO, assume that within 50 years it will occupy 30% of the county's land area, replacing existing forbs and grasses in that area. The albedo of the sagebrush plants is 0.11 and that of the vegetation it replaces is 0.17. You are to use the method developed on pp. 172-174 in COW to tackle this problem. For parts a and b, use the global averaged values of atmospheric albedo and transmissivity as given in that Section of COW. Please note that in some editions of COW there is a typo in Eq. 5 on p. 173 in COW: the value for transmissivity should be 0.51, not 0.49. This slightly alters the equations following it, as well.
a. By roughly how many watts/m2 will the heat budget of the county be affected by this shift in vegetation? (Take the snow-free season as the period of time over which you average, and make a reasonable assumption about average solar flux during that time period) (15 pts.)
b. Roughly what effect would that have on the county's average surface temperature over the snow-free season? (15 pts.) (State any assumptions explicitly, but keep them as simple as possible.)
c. Given what you know about atmospheric clarity in the high mountains, what qualitative effect do you think there would be on your answers to parts a and b if instead of using globally averaged atmospheric albedo and transmissivity you used actual values for the high Rockies? (5 pts.)
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