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G. Strandberg and E. Kjellström

Abstract

Changes in vegetation are known to have an impact on climate via biogeophysical effects such as changes in albedo and heat fluxes. Here, the effects of maximum afforestation and deforestation are studied over Europe. This is done by comparing three regional climate model simulations—one with present-day vegetation, one with maximum afforestation, and one with maximum deforestation. In general, afforestation leads to more evapotranspiration (ET), which leads to decreased near-surface temperature, whereas deforestation leads to less ET, which leads to increased temperature. There are exceptions, mainly in regions with little water available for ET. In such regions, changes in albedo are relatively more important for temperature. The simulated biogeophysical effect on seasonal mean temperature varies between 0.5° and 3°C across Europe. The effect on minimum and maximum temperature is larger than that on mean temperature. Increased (decreased) mean temperature is associated with an even larger increase (decrease) in maximum summer (minimum winter) temperature. The effect on precipitation is found to be small. Two additional simulations in which vegetation is changed in only one-half of the domain were also performed. These simulations show that the climatic effects from changed vegetation in Europe are local. The results imply that vegetation changes have had, and will have, a significant impact on local climate in Europe; the climatic response is comparable to climate change under RCP2.6. Therefore, effects from vegetation change should be taken into account when simulating past, present, and future climate for this region. The results also imply that vegetation changes could be used to mitigate local climate change.

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Soumaya Belmecheri, Flurin Babst, Amy R. Hudson, Julio Betancourt, and Valerie Trouet

Abstract

The latitudinal position of the Northern Hemisphere jet stream (NHJ) modulates the occurrence and frequency of extreme weather events. Precipitation anomalies in particular are associated with NHJ variability; the resulting floods and droughts can have considerable societal and economic impacts. This study develops a new climatology of the 300-hPa NHJ using a bottom-up approach based on seasonally explicit latitudinal NHJ positions. Four seasons with coherent NHJ patterns were identified (January–February, April–May, July–August, and October–November), along with 32 longitudinal sectors where the seasonal NHJ shows strong spatial coherence. These 32 longitudinal sectors were then used as NHJ position indices to examine the influence of seasonal NHJ position on the geographical distribution of NH precipitation and temperature variability and their link to atmospheric circulation pattern. The analyses show that the NHJ indices are related to broad-scale patterns in temperature and precipitation variability, in terrestrial vegetation productivity and spring phenology, and can be used as diagnostic/prognostic tools to link ecosystem and socioeconomic dynamics to upper-level atmospheric patterns.

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Dev Niyogi, Ming Lei, Chandra Kishtawal, Paul Schmid, and Marshall Shepherd

Abstract

The relationship between rainfall characteristics and urbanization over the eastern United States was examined by analyzing four datasets: daily rainfall in 4593 surface stations over the last 50 years (1958–2008), a high-resolution gridded rainfall product, reanalysis wind data, and a proxy for urban land use (gridded human population data). Results indicate that summer monthly rainfall amounts show an increasing trend in urbanized regions. The frequency of heavy rainfall events has a potential positive bias toward urbanized regions. Most notably, consistent with case studies for individual cities, the climatology of rainfall amounts downwind of urban–rural boundaries shows a significant increasing trend. Analysis of heavy (90th percentile) and extreme (99.5th percentile) rainfall events indicated decreasing trends of heavy rainfall events and a possible increasing trend for extreme rainfall event frequency over urban areas. Results indicate that the urbanization impact was more pronounced in the northeastern and midwestern United States with an increase in rainfall amounts. In contrast, the southeastern United States showed a slight decrease in rainfall amounts and heavy rainfall event frequencies. Results suggest that the urbanization signature is becoming detectable in rainfall climatology as an anthropogenic influence affecting regional precipitation; however, extracting this signature is not straightforward and requires eliminating other dynamical confounding feedbacks.

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Andres Schmidt, Beverly E. Law, Mathias Göckede, Chad Hanson, Zhenlin Yang, and Stephen Conley

Abstract

The vast forests and natural areas of the Pacific Northwest compose one of the most productive ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere. The heterogeneous landscape of Oregon poses a particular challenge to ecosystem models. This study presents a framework using a scaling factor Bayesian inversion to improve the modeled atmosphere–biosphere exchange of CO2. Observations from five CO/CO2 towers, eddy covariance towers, and airborne campaigns were used to constrain the Community Land Model, version 4.5 (CLM4.5), simulated terrestrial CO2 exchange at a high spatial and temporal resolution (1/24°; 3 hourly). To balance aggregation errors and the degrees of freedom in the inverse modeling system, the authors applied an unsupervised clustering approach for the spatial structuring of the model domain. Data from flight campaigns were used to quantify the uncertainty introduced by the Lagrangian particle dispersion model that was applied for the inversions. The average annual statewide net ecosystem productivity (NEP) was increased by 32% to 29.7 TgC yr−1 by assimilating the tropospheric mixing ratio data. The associated uncertainty was decreased by 28.4%–29% on average over the entire Oregon model domain with the lowest uncertainties of 11% in western Oregon. The largest differences between posterior and prior CO2 fluxes were found for the Coast Range ecoregion of Oregon that also exhibits the highest availability of atmospheric observations and associated footprints. In this area, covered by highly productive Douglas fir forest, the differences between the prior and posterior estimate of NEP averaged 3.84 TgC yr−1 during the study period from 2012 through 2014.

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Zhao Yang, Francina Dominguez, Hoshin Gupta, Xubin Zeng, and Laura Norman

Abstract

Land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) due to urban expansion alter the surface albedo, heat capacity, and thermal conductivity of the surface. Consequently, the energy balance in urban regions is different from that of natural surfaces. To evaluate the changes in regional climate that could arise because of projected urbanization in the Phoenix–Tucson corridor, Arizona, this study applied the coupled WRF Model–Noah–Urban Canopy Model (UCM; which includes a detailed urban radiation scheme) to this region. Land-cover changes were represented using land-cover data for 2005 and projections to 2050, and historical North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data were used to specify the lateral boundary conditions. Results suggest that temperature changes will be well defined, reflecting the urban heat island (UHI) effect within areas experiencing LULCC. Changes in precipitation are less robust but seem to indicate reductions in precipitation over the mountainous regions northeast of Phoenix and decreased evening precipitation over the newly urbanized area.

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W. L. Ellenburg, R. T. McNider, J. F. Cruise, and John R. Christy

Abstract

This paper explores the link between the anomalous warming hole in the southeastern United States and a major land-use/land-cover (LULC) change in the region. Land surface and satellite observations were analyzed to estimate the net radiative forcing due to LULC change. Albedo and latent energy were specifically addressed for the dominant LULC change of agriculture to forests. It was assumed that in the energy-limited environment of the region, the partition of changes in available energy due to albedo will mostly impact the sensible heat. The results show that in the southeastern United States, for the period of 1920 to 1992, the changes in sensible (as a result of albedo) and latent energies are in direct competition with each other. In the spring and early summer months, the croplands are in peak production and the latent energy associated with their evapotranspiration (ET) is comparable to that of the forests so the decrease in radiation due to albedo dominates the signal. However, during the late summer and fall months, most major crops have matured, thus reducing their transpiration rate while forests (particularly evergreens) maintain their foliage and with their deep roots are able to continue to transpire as long as atmospheric conditions are favorable. This later influence of latent energy appears to more than offset the increased radiative forcing from the spring and early summer. Overall, a mean annual net radiative forcing resulting from a LULC change from cropland to forests was estimated to be −1.06 W m−2 and thus a probable contribution to the “warming hole” over the Southeast during the majority of the twentieth century.

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Pedro Sequera, Jorge E. González, Kyle McDonald, Steve LaDochy, and Daniel Comarazamy

Abstract

Understanding the interactions between large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns and changes in land cover and land use (LCLU) due to urbanization is a relevant subject in many coastal climates. Recent studies by Lebassi et al. found that the average maximum air temperatures during the summer in two populated California coastal areas decreased at low-elevation areas open to marine air penetration during the period of 1970–2005. This coastal cooling was attributed to an increase in sea-breeze activity.

The aims of this work are to better understand the coastal flow patterns and sea–land thermal gradient by improving the land-cover classification scheme in the region using updated airborne remote sensing data and to assess the suitability of the updated regional atmospheric modeling system for representing maritime flows in this region. This study uses high-resolution airborne data from the NASA Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) mission preparatory flight campaign over Southern California and surface ground stations to compare observations against model estimations.

Five new urban land classes were created using broadband albedo derived from the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) sensor and then assimilated into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. The updated model captures the diurnal spatial and temporal sea-breeze patterns in the region. Results show notable improvements of simulated daytime surface temperature and coastal winds using the HyspIRI-derived products in the model against the default land classification, reaffirming the importance of accounting for heterogeneity of urban surface properties.

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Zhijuan Liu, Xiaoguang Yang, Xiaomao Lin, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Shuo Lv, and Jing Wang

Abstract

Northeast China (NEC) is one of the major agricultural production areas in China, producing about 30% of China’s total maize output. In the past five decades, maize yields in NEC increased rapidly. However, farmer yields still have potential to be increased. Therefore, it is important to quantify the impacts of agronomic factors, including soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices on yield gaps of maize under the changing climate in NEC in order to provide reliable recommendations to narrow down the yield gaps. In this study, the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM)-Maize model was used to separate the contributions of soil physical properties, cultivar selections, and management practices to maize yield gaps. The results indicate that approximately 5%, 12%, and 18% of potential yield loss of maize is attributable to soil physical properties, cultivar selection, and management practices. Simulation analyses showed that potential ascensions of yield of maize by improving soil physical properties PAYs, changing to cultivar with longer maturity PAYc, and improving management practices PAYm for the entire region were 0.6, 1.5, and 2.2 ton ha−1 or 9%, 23%, and 34% increases, respectively, in NEC. In addition, PAYc and PAYm varied considerably from location to location (0.4 to 2.2 and 0.9 to 4.5 ton ha−1 respectively), which may be associated with the spatial variation of growing season temperature and precipitation among climate zones in NEC. Therefore, changing to cultivars with longer growing season requirement and improving management practices are the top strategies for improving yield of maize in NEC, especially for the north and west areas.

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Madhavi Jain, A. P. Dimri, and D. Niyogi

Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed rapid urbanization and urban population growth resulting in urban sprawl of cities. This paper analyzes the spatiotemporal dynamics of the urbanization process (using remote sensing and spatial metrics) that has occurred in Delhi, the capital city of India, which is divided into nine districts. The urban patterns and processes within the nine administrative districts of the city based on raw satellite data have been taken into consideration. Area, population, patch, edge, and shape metrics along with Pearson’s chi statistics and Shannon’s entropy have been calculated. Three types of urban patterns exist in the city: 1) highly sprawled districts, namely, West, North, North East, and East; 2) medium sprawled districts, namely, North West, South, and South West; and 3) least sprawled districts—Central and New Delhi. Relative entropy, which scales Shannon’s entropy values from 0 to 1, is calculated for the districts and time spans. Its values are 0.80, 0.92, and 0.50 from 1977 to 1993, 1993 to 2006, and 2006 to 2014, respectively, indicating a high degree of urban sprawl. Parametric and nonparametric correlation tests suggest the existence of associations between built-up density and population density, area-weighted mean patch fractal dimension (AWMPFD) and area-weighted mean shape index (AWMSI), compactness index and edge density, normalized compactness index and number of patches, and AWMPFD and built-up density.

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Weiyue Zhang, Zhongfeng Xu, and Weidong Guo

Abstract

The impacts of land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) on tropospheric temperatures are investigated in this study using the fully coupled Community Earth System Model. Two simulations are performed using potential and current vegetation cover. The results show that LULCC can induce detectable changes in the tropospheric air temperature. Although the influence of LULCC on tropospheric temperature is weak, a significant influence can still be found below 300 hPa in summer over land. Compared to the global-mean temperature change, LULCC-induced changes in the regional-mean air temperature can be 2–3 times larger in the middle–upper troposphere and approximately 8 times larger in the lower troposphere. In East Asia and South Asia, LULCC is shown to produce significant decreases (0.2° to 0.4°C) in air temperature in the middle–upper troposphere in spring and autumn due to the largest decrease in the latent heat release from precipitation. In Europe and North America, the most significant tropospheric cooling occurs in summer, which can be attributed to the significant decrease in the absorbed solar radiation and sensible heat flux during this season. In addition to local effects, LULCC also induces nonlocal responses in the tropospheric air temperature that are characterized by significant decreases over the leeward sides of LULCC regions, which include East Asia–western North Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea–North Africa, North America–Atlantic Ocean, and North America–eastern Pacific. Cooling in the leeward sides of LULCC regions is primarily caused by an enhanced cold advection induced by LULCC.

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