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Markku Rummukainen. Photo.

Markku Rummukainen

Professor

Markku Rummukainen. Photo.

Vegetation-Climate Feedbacks Enhance Spatial Heterogeneity of Pan-Amazonian Ecosystem States Under Climate Change

Author

  • Minchao Wu
  • Benjamin Smith
  • Guy Schurgers
  • Anders Ahlström
  • Markku Rummukainen

Summary, in English

Amazonian ecosystems range from rainforest to open dryland vegetation, with a following decrease in biomass along the moisture gradient. Biomass can vary greatly at the ecological transition zone between grass dominated savannahs and the forest. It is not well understood if the transition zone could expand under climate change, and thereby reduce ecosystem stability and carbon storage in biomass. Here, we quantify such changes by using a high-resolution regional Earth system model under RCP 8.5 climate scenario. We disentangle the effects of climate, CO2, and land use by considering vegetation-climate feedbacks. Our results suggest that future climate change combined with elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration tends to induce a larger spatial gradient of ecosystem states, increasing the transition area by ∼110% at the end of the century. Vegetation feedbacks generally amplify the climate effect by intensifying the climate-induced warming and drought, further enhancing spatial heterogeneity.

Department/s

  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World
  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)

Publishing year

2021

Language

English

Publication/Series

Geophysical Research Letters

Volume

48

Issue

8

Document type

Journal article (letter)

Publisher

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Topic

  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Keywords

  • above-ground biomass
  • Amazonian ecosystems
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • vegetation feedback

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 0094-8276