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Impact of future land use and land cover change on temperature projections over East Asia

Niu, Xiaorui, Tang, Jianping, Wang, Shuyu, Fu, Congbin
Climate dynamics 2019 v.52 no.11 pp. 6475-6490
air temperature, climate, climate models, energy, forests, greenhouse gases, land use and land cover maps, summer, uncertainty, China
To assess the influence of future land use and land cover change (LULCC) on temperature projections over East Asia, and quantify its contribution relative to the increased greenhouse gas (GHG), two simulations, with and without LULCC, are performed by 4th regional climate model (RegCM4) driven by two global climate models for the year 2041–2060 under the Representative Concentration Pathway4.5 (RCP4.5) scenario. Results show that LULCC induces about the changes of 0.1–0.3 °C in surface air temperature over areas undergoing the conversion between forest and crop with clear regionality and seasonality. The responses of extreme temperature are more sensitive to LULCC than those of mean temperature, especially for the daily minimum temperature (Tmin)-related indices. Disagreements in the temperature responses between the two models are simulated during most of the years, particularly over east China during summer. Such uncertainties can be explained by the diversity responses of available energy, which is related to large scale atmospheric circulations produced by the RCM. The extent of LULCC can determine both the magnitude and sign of changes in temperature. LULCC-related changes of Tmax and Tmin can be as large as 25% of those by GHG. LULCC contributes less than 10% to the total projected warming under RCP4.5 when averaged over sub-regions but can reaches up to about 30% on local scales. Those results highlight the important role of LULCC in projecting the regional to local scale temperature changes, and emphasize the necessity of including LULCC forcing in future regional modeling studies.