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Atmosphere 2017, 8(6), 97; doi:10.3390/atmos8060097

Observed Effects of Vegetation Growth on Temperature in the Early Summer over the Northeast China Plain

1
Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geographic Environment, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025, China
2
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robinson I. Negron-Juarez
Received: 8 January 2017 / Revised: 17 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Biosphere/Hydrosphere/Land - Atmosphere Interactions)
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Abstract

The effect of vegetation on temperature is an emerging topic in the climate science community. Existing studies have mostly examined the effects of vegetation on daytime temperature (Tmax), whereas this study investigates the effects on nighttime temperature (Tmin). Ground measurements from 53 sites across northeastern China (NEC) from 1982 to 2006 show that early summer (June) Tmax and Tmin increased at mean rates of approximately 0.61 °C/10 year and 0.67 °C/10 year, respectively. Over the same period, the satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) decreased by approximately 0.10 (accounting for 18% of the climatological NDVI for 1982–1991). It is highlighted that a larger increase in Tmax (Tmin) co-occurred spatially with a larger (smaller) decrease in NDVI. Deriving from such spatial co-occurrences, we found that the spatial variability of changes in Tmax (i.e., ΔTmax) is negatively correlated with the spatial variability of changes in NDVI (i.e., ΔNDVI), while the spatial variability of changes in Tmin (i.e., ΔTmin) is positively correlated (r2 = 0.10; p < 0.05) with that of ΔNDVI. Similarly, we detected significant positive correlations between the spatial variability of ΔNDVI and the change in surface latent heat flux (r2 = 0.16; p < 0.01) and in surface air specific humidity (r2 = 0.28; p < 0.001). These findings on the spatial co-occurrences suggest that the vegetation growth intensifies the atmospheric water vapor through evapotranspiration, which enhances the atmospheric downward longwave radiation and strengthens the greenhouse warming effects at night. Thereby, the positive correlation between ΔNDVI and ΔTmin is better understood. These results indicate that vegetation growth may not only exert effects on daytime temperature but also exert warming effects on nighttime temperature by increasing atmospheric water vapor and thus intensifying the local greenhouse effect. This study presents new observation evidence of the effects of vegetation on local temperature. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation growth; warming/cooling effects; northeastern China; evapotranspiration; greenhouse effect vegetation growth; warming/cooling effects; northeastern China; evapotranspiration; greenhouse effect
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, X.; Zhang, X.; Zhang, L. Observed Effects of Vegetation Growth on Temperature in the Early Summer over the Northeast China Plain. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 97.

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