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Hydrology 2015, 2(2), 93-111; doi:10.3390/hydrology2020093

Evapotranspiration Trends Over the Eastern United States During the 20th Century

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Code 618, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 618, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Terrestrial Information Systems Research, Code 619, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 619, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Maine Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 196 Whitten Road, Augusta, ME 04330, USA
Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2825 University Research Court, Suite 1200, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Department of Geography, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Matthew McCabe
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 14 May 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1539 KB, uploaded 14 May 2015]   |  


Most models evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate change estimate projected increases in temperature and precipitation with rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Researchers have suggested that increases in CO2 and associated increases in temperature and precipitation may stimulate vegetation growth and increase evapotranspiration (ET), which acts as a cooling mechanism, and on a global scale, may slow the climate-warming trend. This hypothesis has been modeled under increased CO2 conditions with models of different vegetation-climate dynamics. The significance of this vegetation negative feedback, however, has varied between models. Here we conduct a century-scale observational analysis of the Eastern US water balance to determine historical evapotranspiration trends and whether vegetation greening has affected these trends. We show that precipitation has increased significantly over the twentieth century while runoff has not. We also show that ET has increased and vegetation growth is partially responsible. View Full-Text
Keywords: evapotranspiration; vegetation greening; vegetation feedback evapotranspiration; vegetation greening; vegetation feedback

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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Kramer, R.J.; Bounoua, L.; Zhang, P.; Wolfe, R.E.; Huntington, T.G.; Imhoff, M.L.; Thome, K.; Noyce, G.L. Evapotranspiration Trends Over the Eastern United States During the 20th Century. Hydrology 2015, 2, 93-111.

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