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  • Alo, C.A., and G. L. Wang, 2007: Future changes of the terrestrial ecosystem and their hydrological impact based on climate projections by 8 GCMs. Part 1: Potential Natural Vegetation Changes. Journal of Geophysical Researh -- Biogeosciences. Submitted.

This study examines the response of the terrestrial biosphere to changes in climate using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Land Model's Dynamic Vegetation Model (CLM-DGVM) driven with future climate projections from eight General Circulation Models (GCMs) participating in the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The simulated potential vegetation under the pre-industrial control (PICNTRL) climate (CO2 concentration held at 275ppm) is compared with that under the SRESA1B after-stabilization climate (CO2 concentration stabilizes at 720ppm beyond 2100). Simulated vegetation changes include increases or decreases of the fractional coverage of different plant functional types and the rather dramatic changes of the dominant plant functional types. Although such changes differ significantly across the different GCM climate projections, a quite consistent pattern emerges, characterized by a considerable pole-ward spread or shift of temperate and boreal forests in the northern hemisphere high latitudes, and a substantial degradation of vegetation cover in the tropics especially in portions of West and southern Africa and South America. Despite the widespread vegetation degradation in the tropics, net primary productivity (NPP) is predicted to increase under most GCM scenarios over most of the globe. Carbon fluxes to the atmosphere due to fire generally increase too across the globe. Such responses of NPP and fire occurrence result from the synergistic effects of CO2 concentration changes, climate changes, and vegetation changes. A companion paper (in preparation) will examine how the biosphere response documented here influences the impact of climate change on surface hydrological conditions.

Last Updated: 2007-07-27

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