Abstract

This is an investigation of the impact of and mechanisms for biosphere feedback in the northeast Asian grassland on the regional climate. Desertification in the Inner Mongolian grassland has dramatically increased during the past 40 years. The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies atmospheric general circulation model, which includes a biosphere model, was used to test the impact of this desertification. In the grassland experiment, areas of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia were specified as grassland. In the desertification experiment, these areas were specified as desert. Each experiment consists of six integrations with different atmospheric initial conditions and different specifications of the extent of the desertification area. All integrations were 90 days in length, beginning in early June and continuing through August, coincident with the period of the East Asian summer monsoon.

The desertification had a significant impact on the simulated climate. During the past 40 years, the observed rainfall has decreased in northern and southern China but increased in central China, and the Inner Mongolian grassland and northern China have become warmer. The simulated rainfall and surface temperature differences between the desertification integrations and the grassland integrations are consistent with these observed changes.

The water balance and surface energy balance were altered by the desertification. The reduction in evaporation in the desertification experiment dominated the changes in the local surface energy budget. The reduction in convective latent beating above the surface layer enhanced sinking motion (or weakened rising motion) over the desertification area and over the adjacent area to the south. Coincidentally, the monsoon circulation was weakened and the rainfall was reduced.

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