skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk

Abstract

Climate-induced forest mortality is being increasingly observed throughout the globe. Alarmingly, it is expected to exacerbate under climate change due to shifting precipitation patterns and rising air temperature. However, the impact of concomitant changes in atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration through their influence on stomatal kinetics remains a subject of debate and inquiry. By using a dynamic soil–plant–atmosphere model, mortality risks associated with hydraulic failure and stomatal closure for 13 temperate and tropical forest biomes across the globe are analyzed. The mortality risk is evaluated in response to both individual and combined changes in precipitation amounts and their seasonal distribution, mean air temperature, specific humidity, and atmospheric CO 2 concentration. Model results show that the risk is predicted to significantly increase due to changes in precipitation and air temperature regime for the period 2050–2069. However, this increase may largely get alleviated by concurrent increases in atmospheric specific humidity and CO 2 concentration. The increase in mortality risk is expected to be higher for needleleaf forests than for broadleaf forests, as a result of disparity in hydraulic traits. These findings will further facilitate decisions about intervention and management of different forest types under changing climate.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [5]
  1. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Nicholas School of the Environment
  2. Marquette Univ., Milwaukee, WI (United States). Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
  3. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Dept. of Biology
  4. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Nicholas School of the Environment and Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  5. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States); World Climate Research Programme (WCRP); Univ. of Montana, Missoula, MT (United States); Max Planck Society, Jena (Germany). Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1377084
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1425374
Grant/Contract Number:  
sc0011461; EAR-1454983; EAR-1331846; DGE-1068871; EAR-1316258; EAR-1338694; EAR-134470; DEB-1557176
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 114 Journal Issue: 37; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; forest mortality; drought; climate change; hydraulic failure; stomatal closure

Citation Formats

Liu, Yanlan, Parolari, Anthony J., Kumar, Mukesh, Huang, Cheng-Wei, Katul, Gabriel G., and Porporato, Amilcare. Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1704811114.
Liu, Yanlan, Parolari, Anthony J., Kumar, Mukesh, Huang, Cheng-Wei, Katul, Gabriel G., & Porporato, Amilcare. Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1704811114.
Liu, Yanlan, Parolari, Anthony J., Kumar, Mukesh, Huang, Cheng-Wei, Katul, Gabriel G., and Porporato, Amilcare. Mon . "Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1704811114.
@article{osti_1377084,
title = {Increasing atmospheric humidity and CO 2 concentration alleviate forest mortality risk},
author = {Liu, Yanlan and Parolari, Anthony J. and Kumar, Mukesh and Huang, Cheng-Wei and Katul, Gabriel G. and Porporato, Amilcare},
abstractNote = {Climate-induced forest mortality is being increasingly observed throughout the globe. Alarmingly, it is expected to exacerbate under climate change due to shifting precipitation patterns and rising air temperature. However, the impact of concomitant changes in atmospheric humidity and CO2 concentration through their influence on stomatal kinetics remains a subject of debate and inquiry. By using a dynamic soil–plant–atmosphere model, mortality risks associated with hydraulic failure and stomatal closure for 13 temperate and tropical forest biomes across the globe are analyzed. The mortality risk is evaluated in response to both individual and combined changes in precipitation amounts and their seasonal distribution, mean air temperature, specific humidity, and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Model results show that the risk is predicted to significantly increase due to changes in precipitation and air temperature regime for the period 2050–2069. However, this increase may largely get alleviated by concurrent increases in atmospheric specific humidity and CO2 concentration. The increase in mortality risk is expected to be higher for needleleaf forests than for broadleaf forests, as a result of disparity in hydraulic traits. These findings will further facilitate decisions about intervention and management of different forest types under changing climate.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1704811114},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 37,
volume = 114,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1704811114

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 4 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The RCP greenhouse gas concentrations and their extensions from 1765 to 2300
journal, August 2011


Temperature as a potent driver of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality
journal, September 2012

  • Park Williams, A.; Allen, Craig D.; Macalady, Alison K.
  • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1693

An ecohydrological perspective on drought-induced forest mortality
journal, May 2014

  • Parolari, Anthony J.; Katul, Gabriel G.; Porporato, Amilcare
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 119, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1002/2013JG002592

Drought-induced defoliation and long periods of near-zero gas exchange play a key role in accentuating metabolic decline of Scots pine
journal, April 2013

  • Poyatos, Rafael; Aguadé, David; Galiano, Lucía
  • New Phytologist, Vol. 200, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.12278

Forest response to elevated CO2 is conserved across a broad range of productivity
journal, December 2005

  • Norby, R. J.; DeLucia, E. H.; Gielen, B.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, Issue 50
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509478102

Ecological Lessons from Free-Air CO 2 Enrichment (FACE) Experiments
journal, December 2011


The interdependence of mechanisms underlying climate-driven vegetation mortality
journal, October 2011

  • McDowell, Nate G.; Beerling, David J.; Breshears, David D.
  • Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 26, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.06.003

Leaf stomatal responses to vapour pressure deficit under current and CO 2 -enriched atmosphere explained by the economics of gas exchange
journal, August 2009


The impacts of increasing drought on forest dynamics, structure, and biodiversity in the United States
journal, February 2016

  • Clark, James S.; Iverson, Louis; Woodall, Christopher W.
  • Global Change Biology, Vol. 22, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13160

Global Patterns of Groundwater Table Depth
journal, February 2013


Evaluating theories of drought-induced vegetation mortality using a multimodel-experiment framework
journal, September 2013

  • McDowell, Nate G.; Fisher, Rosie A.; Xu, Chonggang
  • New Phytologist, Vol. 200, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.12465

What plant hydraulics can tell us about responses to climate-change droughts
journal, March 2015

  • Sperry, John S.; Love, David M.
  • New Phytologist, Vol. 207, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.13354

Density-dependent vulnerability of forest ecosystems to drought
journal, January 2017

  • Bottero, Alessandra; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Palik, Brian J.
  • Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 54, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12847

Increase in forest water-use efficiency as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise
journal, July 2013

  • Keenan, Trevor F.; Hollinger, David Y.; Bohrer, Gil
  • Nature, Vol. 499, Issue 7458
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature12291

Does leaf shedding protect stems from cavitation during seasonal droughts? A test of the hydraulic fuse hypothesis
journal, July 2016

  • Wolfe, Brett T.; Sperry, John S.; Kursar, Thomas A.
  • New Phytologist, Vol. 212, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.14087

The roles of hydraulic and carbon stress in a widespread climate-induced forest die-off
journal, December 2011

  • Anderegg, W. R. L.; Berry, J. A.; Smith, D. D.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 109, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1107891109

Structural overshoot of tree growth with climate variability and the global spectrum of drought‐induced forest dieback
journal, March 2017

  • Jump, Alistair S.; Ruiz‐Benito, Paloma; Greenwood, Sarah
  • Global Change Biology, Vol. 23, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13636

Challenges in Combining Projections from Multiple Climate Models
journal, May 2010

  • Knutti, Reto; Furrer, Reinhard; Tebaldi, Claudia
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 23, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1175/2009JCLI3361.1

TRY - a global database of plant traits: TRY - A GLOBAL DATABASE OF PLANT TRAITS
journal, June 2011


Consequences of widespread tree mortality triggered by drought and temperature stress
journal, September 2012

  • Anderegg, William R. L.; Kane, Jeffrey M.; Anderegg, Leander D. L.
  • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1635

Physiological and environmental regulation of stomatal conductance, photosynthesis and transpiration: a model that includes a laminar boundary layer
journal, April 1991

  • Collatz, G. James; Ball, J. Timothy; Grivet, Cyril
  • Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol. 54, Issue 2-4
  • DOI: 10.1016/0168-1923(91)90002-8

Drought characteristics' role in widespread aspen forest mortality across Colorado, USA
journal, March 2013

  • Anderegg, Leander D. L.; Anderegg, William R. L.; Abatzoglou, John
  • Global Change Biology, Vol. 19, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12146

A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests
journal, February 2010

  • Allen, Craig D.; Macalady, Alison K.; Chenchouni, Haroun
  • Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 259, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.09.001

Global convergence in the vulnerability of forests to drought
journal, November 2012

  • Choat, Brendan; Jansen, Steven; Brodribb, Tim J.
  • Nature, Vol. 491, Issue 7426
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature11688

Estimating Generalized Soil-water Characteristics from Texture1
journal, January 1986


Mechanisms of plant survival and mortality during drought: why do some plants survive while others succumb to drought?
journal, June 2008


Global CO2 rise leads to reduced maximum stomatal conductance in Florida vegetation
journal, February 2011

  • Lammertsma, E. I.; Boer, H. J. d.; Dekker, S. C.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 108, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1100371108

Optimal stomatal behavior with competition for water and risk of hydraulic impairment
journal, October 2016

  • Wolf, Adam; Anderegg, William R. L.; Pacala, Stephen W.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, Issue 46
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1615144113

Effect of increasing CO 2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle
journal, December 2014

  • Schimel, David; Stephens, Britton B.; Fisher, Joshua B.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 112, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407302112

Temperature response of parameters of a biochemically based model of photosynthesis. II. A review of experimental data
journal, September 2002


A stomatal optimization theory to describe the effects of atmospheric CO2 on leaf photosynthesis and transpiration
journal, December 2009

  • Katul, Gabriel; Manzoni, Stefano; Palmroth, Sari
  • Annals of Botany, Vol. 105, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcp292

On underestimation of global vulnerability to tree mortality and forest die-off from hotter drought in the Anthropocene
journal, August 2015

  • Allen, Craig D.; Breshears, David D.; McDowell, Nate G.
  • Ecosphere, Vol. 6, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1890/ES15-00203.1

Mechanisms Linking Drought, Hydraulics, Carbon Metabolism, and Vegetation Mortality
journal, January 2011


Modelled suppression of boundary-layer clouds by plants in a CO2-rich atmosphere
journal, September 2012

  • de Arellano, Jordi Vilà-Guerau; van Heerwaarden, Chiel C.; Lelieveld, Jos
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 5, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1554

Temperature sensitivity of drought-induced tree mortality portends increased regional die-off under global-change-type drought
journal, April 2009

  • Adams, Henry D.; Guardiola-Claramonte, Maite; Barron-Gafford, Greg A.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 106, Issue 17
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901438106

World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated [World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated]
journal, July 2006


Multi-scale predictions of massive conifer mortality due to chronic temperature rise
journal, December 2015

  • McDowell, N. G.; Williams, A. P.; Xu, C.
  • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2873

Evolution of stomatal responsiveness to CO 2 and optimization of water-use efficiency among land plants
journal, August 2009


Death from drought in tropical forests is triggered by hydraulics not carbon starvation
journal, November 2015

  • Rowland, L.; da Costa, A. C. L.; Galbraith, D. R.
  • Nature, Vol. 528, Issue 7580
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature15539

Regional vegetation die-off in response to global-change-type drought
journal, October 2005

  • Breshears, D. D.; Cobb, N. S.; Rich, P. M.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 102, Issue 42
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0505734102

Recent advances in tree hydraulics highlight the ecological significance of the hydraulic safety margin
journal, March 2014

  • Delzon, Sylvain; Cochard, Hervé
  • New Phytologist, Vol. 203, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.12798

The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project
journal, March 1996


A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species
journal, June 1980

  • Farquhar, G. D.; von Caemmerer, S.; Berry, J. A.
  • Planta, Vol. 149, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/BF00386231

Physiological mechanisms of drought-induced tree mortality are far from being resolved: Letters
journal, March 2010


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Multi‐model analysis of climate impacts on plant photosynthesis in China during 2000–2015
    journal, June 2019

    • Yan, Hao; Wang, Shao‐Qiang; Wang, Jun‐Bang
    • International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 39, Issue 15
    • DOI: 10.1002/joc.6170