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CR 56:147-155 (2013)  -  DOI:

Climate responses to historical land cover changes

Ye Wang1,2,*, Xiaodong Yan2,3

1College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, PR China
2Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for East Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10029, PR China
3State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology (ESPRE), College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekouwai Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, PR China

ABSTRACT: This study assessed the biogeophysical effects of land cover change on climate using MPM-2 during the past millennium. Simulations based on the Climate and Environmental Retrieval and Archive (CERA) land cover dataset were carried out to equilibrium from AD 800 to 2000 after a spin-up time of 5300 yr. We concluded that there was a cooling biogeophysical effect  of about 0.13°C in global mean annual temperature in response to historical deforestation, with a maximum cooling of 0.5°C over Eurasia and a minimum cooling of 0.02°C at low latitudes over the Southern Hemisphere. Much larger contrasts were found on a seasonal scale, while these changes were largely offset on an annual scale. Seasonally, cooling occurred in the middle northern latitudes and warming occurred in the low southern latitudes due to historical deforestation. The effect of land cover change was most pronounced over Eurasia, with a maximum cooling of approximately 0.8°C at middle latitudes during summer and a maximum warming of 0.1°C at low latitudes over the Southern Hemisphere during the Northern Hemisphere summer, owing to the changes in albedo and precipitation. These results suggest that changes in land cover triggered a chain of feedbacks in the climate system, and they highlight the need for further research in this area.

KEY WORDS: Biogeophysical effects · Climate change · Land cover change · Earth system model at intermediate complexity · EMIC · Modeling

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Cite this article as: Wang Y, Yan X (2013) Climate responses to historical land cover changes. Clim Res 56:147-155.

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