42-6 Optimizing Military Training Land Use Into the Future.

See more from this Division: A02 Military Land Use & Management
See more from this Session: Symposium--Terrain Impacts From Dynamic Vehicle Systems
Monday, November 1, 2010: 3:40 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 305, Seaside Level
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Sally A. Shoop1, John E. Zufelt Jr.2, Timothy J. Hayden3 and Heidi R. Howard3, (1)U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (USACRREL), Hanover, NH
(2)U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (USACRREL), Anchorange, AK
(3)U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (USACERL), Champaign, IL
Military land managers need tools that are flexible and extendable to future circumstances that might not yet be imagined. A wide variety of activities and their impact on the terrain must be weighed against the cost and time needed for land recovery. Requirements could include as yet unforeseen land uses, changes in doctrine and training, future vehicle designs and fleets. All of this will need to accommodate an uncertain future in terms of changes in global climate and the resulting impact on the environment and ecosystems. Predictions of impacts on military training and operations are difficult to estimate not only because these changes have not been previously encountered, but also because we cannot confidently project the responses of these inter-related systems to fluctuations in temperature and precipitation that deviate from historical norms.

 To address this, a modular toolkit is envisioned as an adaptable method for changing needs. The toolkit would use climate-based land process models to predict climate induced changes to the landscape and these would be linked with mobility and vehicle impact models. This will be merged with training impacts and land condition curves to represent a variety of terrains under a range of ground states (moisture, freeze/thaw, snow/ice) to form the toolkit framework: a set of models and data layers that would enable prediction of the impacts of altered regional climates on training lands.

 Climate change impacts to military training are particularly critical for the 1.6 Million acres of military training lands in Alaska where frozen ground once capable of supporting vehicle traffic may now freeze later, thaw earlier, or be subjected to freeze/thaw cycling; thus, affecting the state and strength of the soil. The DoD depends upon Alaska’s long winters to schedule training and maintain readiness because frozen ground and ice currently serve as critical mobility corridors, and snow cover and frozen ground protect sensitive arctic terrain during military operations.  Observed climate change impacts in the Arctic demonstrate that climate warming initiates a cascade of impacts that affect soil thermal, physical, hydrological, biological and other systems in the far North. These changes can seriously impact the timing and duration of environmentally friendly training windows, and conversely, can serve as early warning indicators of climate change.

See more from this Division: A02 Military Land Use & Management
See more from this Session: Symposium--Terrain Impacts From Dynamic Vehicle Systems