Climate change alters surface water availability (WA; precipitation minus evapotranspiration, P − ET) and consequently impacts agricultural production and societal water needs, leading to increasing concerns on the sustainability of water use. Although the direct effects of climate change on WA have long been recognized and assessed, indirect climate effects occurring through adjustments in terrestrial vegetation are more subtle and not yet fully quantified. To address this knowledge gap, here we investigate the interplay between climate-induced changes in leaf area index (LAI) and ET and quantify its ultimate effect on WA during the period 1982–2016 at the global scale, using an ensemble of data-driven products and land surface models. We show that ~44% of the global vegetated land has experienced a significant increase in growing season-averaged LAI and climate change explains 33.5% of this greening signal. Such climate-induced greening has enhanced ET of 0.051 ± 0.067 mm year−2 (mean ± SD), further amplifying the ongoing increase in ET directly driven by variations in climatic factors over 36.8% of the globe, and thus exacerbating the decline in WA prominently in drylands. These findings highlight the indirect impact of positive feedbacks in the land–climate system on the decline of WA, and call for an in-depth evaluation of these phenomena in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans.

Climate-driven vegetation greening further reduces water availability in drylands / Giovanni Forzieri. - In: GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY. - ISSN 1365-2486. - ELETTRONICO. - 29:(2023), pp. 0-0. [10.1111/gcb.16561]

Climate-driven vegetation greening further reduces water availability in drylands

Giovanni Forzieri
2023

Abstract

Climate change alters surface water availability (WA; precipitation minus evapotranspiration, P − ET) and consequently impacts agricultural production and societal water needs, leading to increasing concerns on the sustainability of water use. Although the direct effects of climate change on WA have long been recognized and assessed, indirect climate effects occurring through adjustments in terrestrial vegetation are more subtle and not yet fully quantified. To address this knowledge gap, here we investigate the interplay between climate-induced changes in leaf area index (LAI) and ET and quantify its ultimate effect on WA during the period 1982–2016 at the global scale, using an ensemble of data-driven products and land surface models. We show that ~44% of the global vegetated land has experienced a significant increase in growing season-averaged LAI and climate change explains 33.5% of this greening signal. Such climate-induced greening has enhanced ET of 0.051 ± 0.067 mm year−2 (mean ± SD), further amplifying the ongoing increase in ET directly driven by variations in climatic factors over 36.8% of the globe, and thus exacerbating the decline in WA prominently in drylands. These findings highlight the indirect impact of positive feedbacks in the land–climate system on the decline of WA, and call for an in-depth evaluation of these phenomena in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans.
2023
29
0
0
Giovanni Forzieri
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Utilizza questo identificatore per citare o creare un link a questa risorsa: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1329920
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