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Constraints to Vegetation Growth Reduced by Region-Specific Changes in Seasonal Climate

California State University Monterey Bay/NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka 560012, India
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, ZheJiang University, HangZhou 310007, China
Bay Area Environmental Research Institute/NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
CropSnap LLC, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, USA
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, USA
Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2019, 7(2), 27;
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Variability and Change in the 21th Century)
PDF [6797 KB, uploaded 18 February 2019]


We qualitatively and quantitatively assessed the factors related to vegetation growth using Earth system models and corroborated the results with historical climate observations. The Earth system models showed a systematic greening by the late 21st century, including increases of up to 100% in Gross Primary Production (GPP) and 60% in Leaf Area Index (LAI). A subset of models revealed that the radiative effects of CO2 largely control changes in climate, but that the CO2 fertilization effect dominates the greening. The ensemble of Earth system model experiments revealed that the feedback of surface temperature contributed to 17% of GPP increase in temperature-limited regions, and radiation increase accounted for a 7% increase of GPP in radiation-limited areas. These effects are corroborated by historical observations. For example, observations confirm that cloud cover has decreased over most land areas in the last three decades, consistent with a CO2-induced reduction in transpiration. Our results suggest that vegetation may thrive in the starkly different climate expected over the coming decades, but only if plants harvest the sort of hypothesized physiological benefits of higher CO2 depicted by current Earth system models. View Full-Text
Keywords: terrestrial ecosystems; GPP; LAI; CMIP5; CO2 fertilization effect; feedback terrestrial ecosystems; GPP; LAI; CMIP5; CO2 fertilization effect; feedback

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Hashimoto, H.; Nemani, R.R.; Bala, G.; Cao, L.; Michaelis, A.R.; Ganguly, S.; Wang, W.; Milesi, C.; Eastman, R.; Lee, T.; Myneni, R. Constraints to Vegetation Growth Reduced by Region-Specific Changes in Seasonal Climate. Climate 2019, 7, 27.

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