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Title: Enhanced water use efficiency in global terrestrial ecosystems under increasing aerosol loadings

Abstract

Aerosols play a crucial role in the climate system, affecting incoming radiation and cloud formation. Based on a modelling framework that couples ecosystem processes with the atmospheric transfer of radiation, we analyze the effect of aerosols on surface incoming radiation, gross primary productivity (GPP), water losses from ecosystems through evapotranspiration (ET) and ecosystem water use efficiency (WUE, defined as GPP/ET) for 2003–2010 and validate them at global FLUXNET sites. The total diffuse radiation increases under relatively low or intermediate aerosol loadings, but decreases under more polluted conditions. We find that aerosol-induced changes in GPP depend on leaf area index, aerosol loading and cloudiness. Specifically, low and moderate aerosol loadings cause increases in GPP for all plant types, while heavy aerosol loadings result in enhancement (decrease) in GPP for dense (sparse) vegetation. On the other hand, ET is mainly negatively affected by aerosol loadings due to the reduction in total incoming radiation. Finally, WUE shows a consistent rise in all plant types under increasing aerosol loadings. Overall, the simulated daily WUE compares well with observations at 43 eddy-covariance tower sites (R 2=0.84 and RMSE=0.01gC (kg H 2O) -1) with better performance at forest sites. In addition to the increasing portions ofmore » diffuse light, the rise in WUE is also favored by the reduction in radiation- and heat-stress caused by the aerosols, especially for wet and hot climates.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1368118
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-126321
Journal ID: ISSN 0168-1923
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology; Journal Volume: 237-238; Journal Issue: C
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Lu, Xiaoliang, Chen, Min, Liu, Yaling, Miralles, Diego G., and Wang, Faming. Enhanced water use efficiency in global terrestrial ecosystems under increasing aerosol loadings. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.02.002.
Lu, Xiaoliang, Chen, Min, Liu, Yaling, Miralles, Diego G., & Wang, Faming. Enhanced water use efficiency in global terrestrial ecosystems under increasing aerosol loadings. United States. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.02.002.
Lu, Xiaoliang, Chen, Min, Liu, Yaling, Miralles, Diego G., and Wang, Faming. Mon . "Enhanced water use efficiency in global terrestrial ecosystems under increasing aerosol loadings". United States. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.02.002.
@article{osti_1368118,
title = {Enhanced water use efficiency in global terrestrial ecosystems under increasing aerosol loadings},
author = {Lu, Xiaoliang and Chen, Min and Liu, Yaling and Miralles, Diego G. and Wang, Faming},
abstractNote = {Aerosols play a crucial role in the climate system, affecting incoming radiation and cloud formation. Based on a modelling framework that couples ecosystem processes with the atmospheric transfer of radiation, we analyze the effect of aerosols on surface incoming radiation, gross primary productivity (GPP), water losses from ecosystems through evapotranspiration (ET) and ecosystem water use efficiency (WUE, defined as GPP/ET) for 2003–2010 and validate them at global FLUXNET sites. The total diffuse radiation increases under relatively low or intermediate aerosol loadings, but decreases under more polluted conditions. We find that aerosol-induced changes in GPP depend on leaf area index, aerosol loading and cloudiness. Specifically, low and moderate aerosol loadings cause increases in GPP for all plant types, while heavy aerosol loadings result in enhancement (decrease) in GPP for dense (sparse) vegetation. On the other hand, ET is mainly negatively affected by aerosol loadings due to the reduction in total incoming radiation. Finally, WUE shows a consistent rise in all plant types under increasing aerosol loadings. Overall, the simulated daily WUE compares well with observations at 43 eddy-covariance tower sites (R2=0.84 and RMSE=0.01gC (kg H2O)-1) with better performance at forest sites. In addition to the increasing portions of diffuse light, the rise in WUE is also favored by the reduction in radiation- and heat-stress caused by the aerosols, especially for wet and hot climates.},
doi = {10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.02.002},
journal = {Agricultural and Forest Meteorology},
number = C,
volume = 237-238,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Mon May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}
  • Our aim is to investigate how ecosystem water-use efficiency (WUE) varies spatially under different climate conditions, and how spatial variations in WUE differ from those of transpiration-based water-use efficiency (WUE t) and transpiration-based inherent water-use efficiency (IWUE t). LocationGlobal terrestrial ecosystems. We investigated spatial patterns of WUE using two datasets of gross primary productivity (GPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) and four biosphere model estimates of GPP and ET. Spatial relationships between WUE and climate variables were further explored through regression analyses. Global WUE estimated by two satellite-based datasets is 1.9 ± 0.1 and 1.8 ± 0.6g C m -2mm -1 lowermore » than the simulations from four process-based models (2.0 ± 0.3g C m -2mm -1) but comparable within the uncertainty of both approaches. In both satellite-based datasets and process models, precipitation is more strongly associated with spatial gradients of WUE for temperate and tropical regions, but temperature dominates north of 50 degrees N. WUE also increases with increasing solar radiation at high latitudes. The values of WUE from datasets and process-based models are systematically higher in wet regions (with higher GPP) than in dry regions. WUE t shows a lower precipitation sensitivity than WUE, which is contrary to leaf- and plant-level observations. IWUE t, the product of WUE t and water vapour deficit, is found to be rather conservative with spatially increasing precipitation, in agreement with leaf- and plant-level measurements. In conclusion, WUE, WUE t and IWUE t produce different spatial relationships with climate variables. In dry ecosystems, water losses from evaporation from bare soil, uncorrelated with productivity, tend to make WUE lower than in wetter regions. Yet canopy conductance is intrinsically efficient in those ecosystems and maintains a higher IWUEt. This suggests that the responses of each component flux of evapotranspiration should be analysed separately when investigating regional gradients in WUE, its temporal variability and its trends.« less
  • Here, water use efficiency (WUE), defined as the ratio of gross primary productivity and evapotranspiration at the ecosystem scale, is a critical variable linking the carbon and water cycles. Incorporating a dependency on vapor pressure deficit, apparent underlying WUE (uWUE) provides a better indicator of how terrestrial ecosystems respond to environmental changes than other WUE formulations. Here we used 20th century simulations from four terrestrial biosphere models to develop a novel variance decomposition method. With this method, we attributed variations in apparent uWUE to both the trend and interannual variation of environmental drivers. The secular increase in atmospheric CO 2more » explained a clear majority of total variation (66 ± 32%: mean ± one standard deviation), followed by positive trends in nitrogen deposition and climate, as well as a negative trend in land use change. In contrast, interannual variation was mostly driven by interannual climate variability. To analyze the mechanism of the CO 2 effect, we partitioned the apparent uWUE into the transpiration ratio (transpiration over evapotranspiration) and potential uWUE. The relative increase in potential uWUE parallels that of CO 2, but this direct CO 2 effect was offset by 20 ± 4% by changes in ecosystem structure, that is, leaf area index for different vegetation types. However, the decrease in transpiration due to stomatal closure with rising CO 2 was reduced by 84% by an increase in leaf area index, resulting in small changes in the transpiration ratio. CO 2 concentration thus plays a dominant role in driving apparent uWUE variations over time, but its role differs for the two constituent components: potential uWUE and transpiration.« less
  • Observations show an increasing amplitude in the seasonal cycle of CO2 (ASC) north of 45°N of 56 ± 9.8% over the last 50 years and an increase in vegetation greenness of 7.5–15% in high northern latitudes since the 1980s. However, the causes of these changes remain uncertain. Historical simulations from terrestrial biosphere models in the Multiscale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project are compared to the ASC and greenness observations, using the TM3 atmospheric transport model to translate surface fluxes into CO2 concentrations. We find that the modeled change in ASC is too small but the mean greening trend ismore » generally captured. Modeled increases in greenness are primarily driven by warming, whereas ASC changes are primarily driven by increasing CO2. We suggest that increases in ecosystem-scale light use efficiency (LUE) have contributed to the observed ASC increase but are underestimated by current models. We highlight potential mechanisms that could increase modeled LUE.« less
  • A five-compartment model for carbon cycling in the world's terrestrial ecosystems, which includes a concise treatment of the releases of carbon and shifts in carbon storage due to forest clearing, is presented. The dynamics of the less abundant isotopes, /sup 13/C and /sup 14/C, are included in the model to allow interpretation of available isotopic time series. The sensitivity of the net carbon flux between the terrestrial component of the model and atmosphere to 10% variability in terrestrial rate coefficients and growth parameters is examined; for the particular case considered here, the variability in model response is approx. = 10%.more » Response of the model agrees reasonably well with observations of historical changes in the specific activity of /sup 14/C in the atmosphere. The model-calculated Suess effect in 1952 is 2%, and the time constant of the exponential decrease in atmospheric /sup 14/C following the weapons test ban is 14 yr. By adjusting the releases of carbon due to forest clearing, a fit of model response to /sup 13/C//sup 12/C tree-ring time series is derived. The resulting forest-clearing carbon release function rises to 2.5 Pg/yr by 1910 and remains constant to the present. Due to establishment of ground vegetation following clearing, the net carbon flux from the terrestrial biotic system to the atmosphere is less than the release due to clearing in some instances. To accommodate this net input to the atmosphere in addition to that due to fossil fuel combustion, the pre-industrial CO/sup 2/ concentration must be assumed to have been lower than is implied by extrapolating the modern instrument records backward in time. 50 references, 5 figures, 2 tables.« less