Next Article in Journal
Greenhouse Gas Induced Changes in the Seasonal Cycle of the Amazon Basin in Coupled Climate-Vegetation Regional Model
Previous Article in Journal
Perceived Self-Efficacy and Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Cambodia
Previous Article in Special Issue
Grassland Growth in Response to Climate Variability in the Upper Indus Basin, Pakistan
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Climate 2016, 4(1), 2; doi:10.3390/cli4010002

Potential Vegetation and Carbon Redistribution in Northern North America from Climate Change

1
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
2
Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nir Krakauer
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 21 November 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Impacts of Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3567 KB, uploaded 6 January 2016]   |  

Abstract

There are strong relationships between climate and ecosystems. With the prospect of anthropogenic forcing accelerating climate change, there is a need to understand how terrestrial vegetation responds to this change as it influences the carbon balance. Previous studies have primarily addressed this question using empirically based models relating the observed pattern of vegetation and climate, together with scenarios of potential future climate change, to predict how vegetation may redistribute. Unlike previous studies, here we use an advanced mechanistic, individually based, ecosystem model to predict the terrestrial vegetation response from future climate change. The use of such a model opens up opportunities to test with remote sensing data, and the possibility of simulating the transient response to climate change over large domains. The model was first run with a current climatology at half-degree resolution and compared to remote sensing data on dominant plant functional types for northern North America for validation. Future climate data were then used as inputs to predict the equilibrium response of vegetation in terms of dominant plant functional type and carbon redistribution. At the domain scale, total forest cover changed by ~2% and total carbon storage increased by ~8% in response to climate change. These domain level changes were the result of much larger gross changes within the domain. Evergreen forest cover decreased 48% and deciduous forest cover increased 77%. The dominant plant functional type changed on 58% of the sites, while total carbon in deciduous vegetation increased 107% and evergreen vegetation decreased 31%. The percent of terrestrial carbon from deciduous and evergreen plant functional types changed from 27%/73% under current climate conditions, to 54%/46% under future climate conditions. These large predicted changes in vegetation and carbon in response to future climate change are comparable to previous empirically based estimates, and motivate the need for future development with this mechanistic model to estimate the transient response to future climate changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; earth system modeling; plant ecology climate change; earth system modeling; plant ecology
Figures

Figure 1

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).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Flanagan, S.A.; Hurtt, G.C.; Fisk, J.P.; Sahajpal, R.; Hansen, M.C.; Dolan, K.A.; Sullivan, J.H.; Zhao, M. Potential Vegetation and Carbon Redistribution in Northern North America from Climate Change. Climate 2016, 4, 2.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Climate EISSN 2225-1154 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top