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This content will become publicly available on April 27, 2019

Title: Forest response to rising CO 2 drives zonally asymmetric rainfall change over tropical land

Understanding how anthropogenic CO 2 emissions will influence future precipitation is critical for sustainably managing ecosystems, particularly for drought-sensitive tropical forests. Although tropical precipitation change remains uncertain, nearly all models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 predict a strengthening zonal precipitation asymmetry by 2100, with relative increases over Asian and African tropical forests and decreases over South American forests. Here we show that the plant physiological response to increasing CO 2 is a primary mechanism responsible for this pattern. Applying a simulation design in the Community Earth System Model in which CO 2 increases are isolated over individual continents, we demonstrate that different circulation, moisture and stability changes arise over each continent due to declines in stomatal conductance and transpiration. The sum of local atmospheric responses over individual continents explains the pan-tropical precipitation asymmetry. Our analysis suggests that South American forests may be more vulnerable to rising CO 2 than Asian or African forests.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ;  [5] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [6] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States); Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Irvine, CA (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States)
  6. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Climate Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1436927