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Global vegetation productivity responses to the West Pacific Warm Pool

Huang, Mei, Wang, Zhaosheng, Wang, Shaoqiang, Gu, Fengxue, Gong, He, Hao, Man, Shao, Yaping
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.655 pp. 641-651
El Nino, atmospheric circulation, carbon, climate, latitude, satellites, simulation models, surface temperature, vegetation
Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) strongly influence atmospheric circulation and the Earth's climate, which in turn significantly affects vegetation productivity. Most of the previous studies on the subject have focused on links between the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and vegetation productivity, but few studies have addressed the effects of West Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) on that although the early stages of the ENSO phenomenon may first develop there. In this paper, we use the mean SST values in the WPWP to construct a climate index, known as the WPWP index (WPI), and study the impacts of the WPWP on global vegetation productivity. We provide evidence for a robust link among the alternating warm and cool WPI pattern, terrestrial vegetation productivity and carbon balance. The analysis is based on both satellite observations and model simulations. The results of this study show that the warm and cool WPWP phases have inverse effects on land surface temperature and precipitation. A warm (cool) WPWP is associated with a warmer (cooler) climate on global land surfaces as well as a drier (wetter) climate in southern hemisphere, and hence enhances (suppresses) vegetation productivity in the latitudes of approximately 10–70°N and suppresses (enhances) vegetation growth in the latitudes of approximately 10–30°S. The underlying mechanism is also discussed. The WPI serves as a meaningful climate index for studying the ocean-vegetation teleconnections.