Graham Sustainability Institute

Land Use, Precipitation and Climate Feedbacks in Brazil

U-M Investigators

Allison Steiner – Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering


Rosmeri Porfirio da Rocha – University of Sao Paulo

Project Summary

Regional climate models, which provide climate information for a specific area of interest at a finer resolution than global climate models, are useful tools for evaluating and planning for potential changes in climate, such as temperature and precipitation. In Brazil, significant land use conversion is occurring, and these local-scale land use changes may modify typical large-scale precipitation patterns, especially in agricultural areas.

A new collaboration between climate researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) and the University of Sao Paulo ocused on understanding physical processes that control precipitation in the region and their potential impacts on regional sustainability. Together, the researchers developed a high-resolution regional climate model to investigate the role of land cover change on precipitation in Brazil. The outputs from model simulations provided a range of the spatial distribution of precipitation magnitude and intensity, which can be applied to a suite of applications related to agriculture, water resources, and urban planning in the region.

This project received a $9,268 UM-Brazil Sustainability Cooperation Grant in 2013.