Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geosciences

Committee Chair

Marco Maneta

Commitee Members

Marco Maneta, Solomon Dobrowski, Payton Gardner, Zachary Holden


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Greenhouse gas emissions caused by human economic activity are altering the global hydrologic cycle and the energy exchanges at the land surface. In large portions of the western US there is evidence of reduced summertime precipitation and increased air temperatures and longwave irradiation. At local scales, these changes can translate into more frequent and intense extreme land surface temperature events during the summer, with potential impacts on wildfire activity, forest health, soil biochemical cycles, and thermal comfort for human populations. However, because increases in radiation and sensible heat (air temperature) inputs to the land surface are confounded with changes in water availability, which alter the way the surface energy balance is reapportioned, it is difficult to disentangle the specific contributions of these factors to the observed dynamics of land surface temperatures. This thesis contributes insight into this problem using a combination of analytical and numerical model applications in a plot and for the city of Missoula, MT. In the first chapter of this thesis we used analytical method on a surface energy balance equation to identify and assess the attribution of surface temperature sensitivities to key hydro-climatic drivers in a plot of soil with and without vegetation canopy cover. The second chapter uses an ecohydrological model to investigate the effect of perturbations in water input regimes (additions to soil moisture) on surface temperatures for different land covers in a semi-arid urban area (Missoula, MT).

Included in

Hydrology Commons



© Copyright 2020 Sarah Khalid and Marco Maneta