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Journal ArticleDOI

Earlier springs decrease peak summer productivity in North American boreal forests

01 Jun 2013-Environmental Research Letters (Institute of Physics)-Vol. 8, Iss: 2, pp 024027
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors analyzed nearly three decades (1982?2008) of observational records and derived products, including satellite microwave and optical imagery as well as upscaled ecosystem flux observations, to better understand how shifts in seasonality impact hydrology and productivity in the North American boreal forests.
Abstract: In the northern high latitudes, alternative hypotheses with regards to how warming-related shifts in seasonality influence ecosystem productivity exist. Increased plant growth associated with a longer growing season may enhance ecosystem productivity, but shifts to earlier springs may also negatively influence soil moisture status and productivity during the peak of the growing season. Here, we analyzed nearly three decades (1982?2008) of observational records and derived products, including satellite microwave and optical imagery as well as upscaled ecosystem flux observations, to better understand how shifts in seasonality impact hydrology and productivity in the North American boreal forests. We identified a dominant adverse influence of earlier springs on peak summer forest greenness, actual evapotranspiration and productivity at interannual time scales across the drier western and central sections of the North American boreal forests. In the vast regions where this spring onset mechanism operates, ecosystem productivity gains from earlier springs during the early portion of the growing season are effectively cancelled through corresponding losses in the later portion. Our results also indicate that recent decadal shifts towards earlier springs and associated drying in the midst of the growing season over western North American boreal forests may have contributed to the reported declines in summer productivity and increases in tree mortality and fire activity. With projections of accelerated northern high-latitude warming and associated shifts to earlier springs, persistent soil moisture deficits in peak summer may be an effective mechanism for regional-scale boreal forest dieback through their strong influence on productivity, tree mortality and disturbance dynamics.

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Citations
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01 Dec 2012
Abstract: We upscaled FLUXNET observations of carbon dioxide, water, and energy fluxes to the global scale using the machine learning technique, model tree ensembles (MTE). We trained MTE to predict site-level gross primary productivity (GPP), terrestrial ecosystem respiration (TER), net ecosystem exchange (NEE), latent energy (LE), and sensible heat (H) based on remote sensing indices, climate and meteorological data, and information on land use. We applied the trained MTEs to generate global flux fields at a 0.5 degrees x 0.5 degrees spatial resolution and a monthly temporal resolution from 1982 to 2008. Cross-validation analyses revealed good performance of MTE in predicting among-site flux variability with modeling efficiencies (MEf) between 0.64 and 0.84, except for NEE (MEf = 0.32). Performance was also good for predicting seasonal patterns (MEf between 0.84 and 0.89, except for NEE (0.64)). By comparison, predictions of monthly anomalies were not as strong (MEf between 0.29 and 0.52). Improved accounting of disturbance and lagged environmental effects, along with improved characterization of errors in the training data set, would contribute most to further reducing uncertainties. Our global estimates of LE (158 +/- 7 J x 10(18) yr(-1)), H (164 +/- 15 J x 10(18) yr(-1)), and GPP (119 +/- 6 Pg C yr(-1)) were similar to independent estimates. Our global TER estimate (96 +/- 6 Pg C yr(-1)) was likely underestimated by 5-10%. Hot spot regions of interannual variability in carbon fluxes occurred in semiarid to semihumid regions and were controlled by moisture supply. Overall, GPP was more important to interannual variability in NEE than TER. Our empirically derived fluxes may be used for calibration and evaluation of land surface process models and for exploratory and diagnostic assessments of the biosphere.

948 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that future studies should primarily focus on using new observation tools to improve the understanding of tropical plant phenology, on improving process-based phenology modeling, and on the scaling of phenology from species to landscape-level.
Abstract: Plant phenology, the annually recurring sequence of plant developmental stages, is important for plant functioning and ecosystem services and their biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system. Plant phenology depends on temperature, and the current rapid climate change has revived interest in understanding and modeling the responses of plant phenology to the warming trend and the consequences thereof for ecosystems. Here, we review recent progresses in plant phenology and its interactions with climate change. Focusing on the start (leaf unfolding) and end (leaf coloring) of plant growing seasons, we show that the recent rapid expansion in ground- and remote sensing- based phenology data acquisition has been highly beneficial and has supported major advances in plant phenology research. Studies using multiple data sources and methods generally agree on the trends of advanced leaf unfolding and delayed leaf coloring due to climate change, yet these trends appear to have decelerated or even reversed in recent years. Our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the plant phenology responses to climate warming is still limited. The interactions between multiple drivers complicate the modeling and prediction of plant phenology changes. Furthermore, changes in plant phenology have important implications for ecosystem carbon cycles and ecosystem feedbacks to climate, yet the quantification of such impacts remains challenging. We suggest that future studies should primarily focus on using new observation tools to improve the understanding of tropical plant phenology, on improving process-based phenology modeling, and on the scaling of phenology from species to landscape-level.

750 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In the case of an earlier spring and a later autumn, carbon uptake (photosynthesis) increases considerably more than carbon release (respiration) in temperate forests in the eastern US as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: The timing of life-history events has a strong impact on ecosystems. Now, analysis of the phenology of temperate forests in the eastern US indicates that in the case of an earlier spring and a later autumn, carbon uptake (photosynthesis) increases considerably more than carbon release (respiration).

592 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the temporal correlations between EOS and environmental factors (i.e., temperature, precipitation and insolation), as well as the correlation between spring and autumn phenology, using partial correlation analyses were determined.
Abstract: The timing of the end of the vegetation growing season (EOS) plays a key role in terrestrial ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycles. Autumn phenology is, however, still poorly understood, and previous studies generally focused on few species or were very limited in scale. In this study, we applied four methods to extract EOS dates from NDVI records between 1982 and 2011 for the Northern Hemisphere, and determined the temporal correlations between EOS and environmental factors (i.e., temperature, precipitation and insolation), as well as the correlation between spring and autumn phenology, using partial correlation analyses. Overall, we observed a trend toward later EOS in ~70% of the pixels in Northern Hemisphere, with a mean rate of 0.18 ± 0.38 days yr-1 . Warming preseason temperature was positively associated with the rate of EOS in most of our study area, except for arid/semi-arid regions, where the precipitation sum played a dominant positive role. Interestingly, increased preseason insolation sum might also lead to a later date of EOS. In addition to the climatic effects on EOS, we found an influence of spring vegetation green-up dates on EOS, albeit biome dependent. Our study, therefore, suggests that both environmental factors and spring phenology should be included in the modeling of EOS to improve the predictions of autumn phenology as well as our understanding of the global carbon and nutrient balances.

284 citations

References
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01 Jan 2007
TL;DR: The first volume of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report as mentioned in this paper was published in 2007 and covers several topics including the extensive range of observations now available for the atmosphere and surface, changes in sea level, assesses the paleoclimatic perspective, climate change causes both natural and anthropogenic, and climate models for projections of global climate.
Abstract: This report is the first volume of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. It covers several topics including the extensive range of observations now available for the atmosphere and surface, changes in sea level, assesses the paleoclimatic perspective, climate change causes both natural and anthropogenic, and climate models for projections of global climate.

32,826 citations

Book
01 Jan 2007
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a historical overview of climate change science, including changes in atmospheric constituents and radiative forcing, as well as changes in snow, ice, and frozen ground.
Abstract: Summary for policymakers -- Technical summary -- Historical overview of climate change science -- Changes in atmospheric constituents and radiative forcing -- Observations: atmospheric surface and climate change -- Observations: changes in snow, ice, and frozen ground -- Observations: ocean climate change and sea level -- Paleoclimate -- Coupling between changes in the climate system and biogeochemistry -- Climate models and their evaluation -- Understanding and attributing climate change -- Global climate projections -- Regional climate projections -- Annex I: Glossary -- Annex II: Contributors to the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report -- Annex III: Reviewers of the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report -- Annex IV: Acronyms.

7,738 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present the first global assessment of recent tree mortality attributed to drought and heat stress and identify key information gaps and scientific uncertainties that currently hinder our ability to predict tree mortality in response to climate change and emphasizes the need for a globally coordinated observation system.

5,811 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a new climatic drought index, the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), is proposed, which combines multiscalar character with the capacity to include the effects of temperature variability on drought assessment.
Abstract: The authors propose a new climatic drought index: the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI). The SPEI is based on precipitation and temperature data, and it has the advantage of combining multiscalar character with the capacity to include the effects of temperature variability on drought assessment. The procedure to calculate the index is detailed and involves a climatic water balance, the accumulation of deficit/surplus at different time scales, and adjustment to a log-logistic probability distribution. Mathematically, the SPEI is similar to the standardized precipitation index (SPI), but it includes the role of temperature. Because the SPEI is based on a water balance, it can be compared to the self-calibrated Palmer drought severity index (sc-PDSI). Time series of the three indices were compared for a set of observatories with different climate characteristics, located in different parts of the world. Under global warming conditions, only the sc-PDSI and SPEI identified an...

5,088 citations

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