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Deforestation changes land–atmosphere interactions across South American biomes

Author:
Salazar, Alvaro, Katzfey, Jack, Thatcher, Marcus, Syktus, Jozef, Wong, Kenneth, McAlpine, Clive
Source:
Global and planetary change 2016 v.139 pp. 97-108
ISSN:
0921-8181
Subject:
cerrado, climate, climate models, deforestation, dry season, ecosystems, evapotranspiration, forests, hydrologic cycle, land cover, land use, relative humidity, simulation models, soil water, temperature
Abstract:
South American biomes are increasingly affected by land use/land cover change. However, the climatic impacts of this phenomenon are still not well understood. In this paper, we model vegetation–climate interactions with a focus on four main biomes distributed in four key regions: The Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado, the Dry Chaco, and the Chilean Matorral ecosystems. We applied a three member ensemble climate model simulation for the period 1981–2010 (30years) at 25km resolution over the focus regions to quantify the changes in the regional climate resulting from historical deforestation. The results of computed modelling experiments show significant changes in surface fluxes, temperature and moisture in all regions. For instance, simulated temperature changes were stronger in the Cerrado and the Chilean Matorral with an increase of between 0.7 and 1.4°C. Changes in the hydrological cycle revealed high regional variability. The results showed consistent significant decreases in relative humidity and soil moisture, and increases in potential evapotranspiration across biomes, yet without conclusive changes in precipitation. These impacts were more significant during the dry season, which resulted to be drier and warmer after deforestation.
Agid:
5651844