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Climate 2014, 2(3), 153-167; doi:10.3390/cli2030153

The Effect of Land Cover/Land Use Changes on the Regional Climate of the USA High Plains

Geography Department, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
School of Natural Resources and Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 311 Hardin Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 239 L.W. Chase Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 June 2014 / Revised: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use/Cover Change Impacts on Climate)
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We present the detection of the signatures of land use/land cover (LULC) changes on the regional climate of the US High Plains. We used the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as a proxy of LULC changes and atmospheric CO2 concentrations as a proxy of greenhouse gases. An enhanced signal processing procedure was developed to detect the signatures of LULC changes by integrating autoregression and moving average (ARMA) modeling and optimal fingerprinting technique. The results, which are representative of the average spatial signatures of climate response to LULC change forcing on the regional climate of the High Plains during the 26 years of the study period (1981–2006), show a significant cooling effect on the regional temperatures during the summer season. The cooling effect was attributed to probable evaporative cooling originating from the increasing extensive irrigation in the region. The external forcing of atmospheric CO2 was included in the study to suppress the radiative warming effect of greenhouse gases, thus, enhancing the LULC change signal. The results show that the greenhouse gas radiative warming effect in the region is significant, but weak, compared to the LULC change signal. The study demonstrates the regional climatic impact of anthropogenic induced atmospheric-biosphere interaction attributed to LULC change, which is an additional and important climate forcing in addition to greenhouse gas radiative forcing in High Plains region.
Keywords: landuse/landcover; optimal fingerprinting; ARMA modeling; climate change landuse/landcover; optimal fingerprinting; ARMA modeling; climate change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mutiibwa, D.; Kilic, A.; Irmak, S. The Effect of Land Cover/Land Use Changes on the Regional Climate of the USA High Plains. Climate 2014, 2, 153-167.

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