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The role of CO2 and dynamic vegetation on the impact of temperate land use change in the HadCM3 coupled climate model

Armstrong, E., Valdes, P., House, J. and Singarayer, J. S. (2016) The role of CO2 and dynamic vegetation on the impact of temperate land use change in the HadCM3 coupled climate model. Earth Interactions, 20 (10). pp. 1-20. ISSN 1087-3562

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/EI-D-15-0036.1


Human induced land-use change (LUC) alters the biogeophysical characteristics of the land surface influencing the surface energy balance. The level of atmospheric CO2 is expected to increase in the coming century and beyond, modifying temperature and precipitation patterns and altering the distribution and physiology of natural vegetation. It is important to constrain how CO2-induced climate and vegetation change may influence the regional extent to which LUC alters climate. This sensitivity study uses the HadCM3 coupled climate model under a range of equilibrium forcings to show that the impact of LUC declines under increasing atmospheric CO2, specifically in temperate and boreal regions. A surface energy balance analysis is used to diagnose how these changes occur. In Northern Hemisphere winter this pattern is attributed in part to the decline in winter snow cover and in the summer due to a reduction in latent cooling with higher levels of CO2. The CO2-induced change in natural vegetation distribution is also shown to play a significant role. Simulations run at elevated CO2 yet present day vegetation show a significantly increased sensitivity to LUC, driven in part by an increase in latent cooling. This study shows that modelling the impact of LUC needs to accurately simulate CO2 driven changes in precipitation and snowfall, and incorporate accurate, dynamic vegetation distribution.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:57050
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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