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Author ORCID ID is 0000000158024134
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  1. Land cover datasets are essential for modeling and analysis of Arctic ecosystem structure and function and for understanding land–atmosphere interactions at high spatial resolutions. However, most Arctic land cover products are generated at a coarse resolution, often limited due to cloud cover, polar darkness, and poor availability of high-resolution imagery. A multi-sensor remote sensing-based deep learning approach was developed for generating high-resolution (5 m) vegetation maps for the western Alaskan Arctic on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. The fusion of hyperspectral, multispectral, and terrain datasets was performed using unsupervised and supervised classification techniques over a ~343 km 2 area, and amore » high-resolution (5 m) vegetation classification map was generated. An unsupervised technique was developed to classify high-dimensional remote sensing datasets into cohesive clusters. We employed a quantitative method to add supervision to the unlabeled clusters, producing a fully labeled vegetation map. We then developed convolutional neural networks (CNNs) using the multi-sensor fusion datasets to map vegetation distributions using the original classes and the classes produced by the unsupervised classification method. To validate the resulting CNN maps, vegetation observations were collected at 30 field plots during the summer of 2016, and the resulting vegetation products developed were evaluated against them for accuracy. Our analysis indicates the CNN models based on the labels produced by the unsupervised classification method provided the most accurate mapping of vegetation types, increasing the validation score (i.e., precision) from 0.53 to 0.83 when evaluated against field vegetation observations.« less
  2. Context: Besides climate change vulnerability, most ecosystems are under threat from a history of improper land-use and conservation policies, yet there is little existing long-term ecological research infrastructure in Turkey. In regions with no ecological networks across large landscapes, ecoregion concept offers opportunities for characterizing the landscape under changing climate.Objectives: Aim is to develop contemporary and future quantitative ecoregions for Turkey based on climate model outputs, to identify climate change-sensitive areas of biodiversity and conservation significance, and to provide a framework for a comprehensive ecological observatory network design.Methods: Using Multivariate Spatio-Temporal Clustering and climate data contemporary and projected future distributionsmore » of Turkey’s ecoregions are delineated at several division levels.Results: Turkey’s contemporary ecoregions generally show a northward shift by the end of this century and the lengthening of the growing season across the country, especially eastward and northward. The increase in growing season length, along with the shift in precipitation seasonality and increasing growing season precipitation, shape future conditions within the climate change-sensitive areas. Apart from transboundary ecological and socioeconomic significance, these potentially vulnerable ecosystems also constitute the majority of Turkey’s biodiversity hotspots.Conclusions: Our study marks the first ‘ecoregionalization’ study for Turkey based on both contemporary and future climate scenarios. For countries like Turkey, where large-scale ecological networks have not been established, using such quantitative methodology for delineation of optimal ecoclimatic regions, and for mapping environments at risk from climate change provides an invaluable perspective for conservation planning strategies, and a framework for a comprehensive ecological observatory network design.« less
  3. Here, the increasing complexity of Earth system models has inspired efforts to quantitatively assess model fidelity through rigorous comparison with best available measurements and observational data products. Earth system models exhibit a high degree of spread in predictions of land biogeochemistry, biogeophysics, and hydrology, which are sensitive to forcing from other model components. Based on insights from prior land model evaluation studies and community workshops, the authors developed an open source model benchmarking software package that generates graphical diagnostics and scores model performance in support of the International Land Model Benchmarking (ILAMB) project. Employing a suite of in situ, remotemore » sensing, and reanalysis data sets, the ILAMB package performs comprehensive model assessment across a wide range of land variables and generates a hierarchical set of web pages containing statistical analyses and figures designed to provide the user insights into strengths and weaknesses of multiple models or model versions. Described here is the benchmarking philosophy and mathematical methodology embodied in the most recent implementation of the ILAMB package. Comparison methods unique to a few specific data sets are presented, and guidelines for configuring an ILAMB analysis and interpreting resulting model performance scores are discussed. ILAMB is being adopted by modeling teams and centers during model development and for model intercomparison projects, and community engagement is sought for extending evaluation metrics and adding new observational data sets to the benchmarking framework.« less
  4. Simplified representations of processes influencing forest biomass in Earth system models (ESMs) contribute to large uncertainty in projections. We evaluate forest biomass from eight ESMs outputs archived in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) using the biomass data synthesized from radar remote sensing and ground-based observations across northern extratropical latitudes. ESMs exhibit large biases in the forest distribution, forest fraction, and mass of carbon pools that contribute to uncertainty in forest total biomass (biases range from –20 Pg C to 135 Pg C). Forest total biomass is primarily positively correlated with precipitation variations, with surface temperature becoming equallymore » important at higher latitudes, in both simulations and observations. Relatively small differences in forest biomass between the pre-industrial period and the contemporary period indicate uncertainties in forest biomass were introduced in the pre-industrial model equilibration (spin-up), suggesting parametric or structural model differences are a larger source of uncertainty than differences in transient responses. Lastly, our findings emphasize the importance of improved models of carbon allocation to biomass compartments, distribution of vegetation types in models, and reproduction of pre-industrial vegetation conditions, in order to reduce the uncertainty in forest biomass simulated by ESMs.« less
  5. Runoff in the United States is changing, and this study finds that the measured change is dependent on the geographic region and varies seasonally. Specifically, observed annual total runoff had an insignificant increasing trend in the US between 1950 and 2010, but this insignificance was due to regional heterogeneity with both significant and insignificant increases in the eastern, northern, and southern US, and a greater significant decrease in the western US. Trends for seasonal mean runoff also differed across regions. By region, the season with the largest observed trend was autumn for the east (positive), spring for the north (positive),more » winter for the south (positive), winter for the west (negative), and autumn for the US as a whole (positive). Based on the detection and attribution analysis using gridded WaterWatch runoff observations along with semi-factorial land surface model simulations from the Multi-scale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project (MsTMIP), we found that while the roles of CO 2 concentration, nitrogen deposition, and land use and land cover were inconsistent regionally and seasonally, the effect of climatic variations was detected for all regions and seasons, and the change in runoff could be attributed to climate change in summer and autumn in the south and in autumn in the west. It was also found that the climate-only and historical transient simulations consistently underestimated the runoff trends, possibly due to precipitation bias in the MsTMIP driver or within the models themselves.« less
  6. 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 individualmore » 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.« less
    Cited by 3
  7. Earth system models (ESMs) simulate a large spread in carbon cycle feedbacks to climate change, particularly in their prediction of cumulative changes in terrestrial carbon storage. Evaluating the performance of ESMs against observations and assessing the likelihood of long-term climate predictions are crucial for model development. Here, we assessed the use of atmospheric CO 2 growth rate variations to evaluate the sensitivity of tropical ecosystem carbon fluxes to interannual temperature variations. We found that the temperature sensitivity of the observed CO 2 growth rate depended on the time scales over which atmospheric CO 2 observations were averaged. The temperature sensitivitymore » of the CO 2 growth rate during Northern Hemisphere winter is most directly related to the tropical carbon flux sensitivity since winter variations in Northern Hemisphere carbon fluxes are relatively small. This metric can be used to test the fidelity of interactions between the physical climate system and terrestrial ecosystems within ESMs, which is especially important since the short-term relationship between ecosystem fluxes and temperature stress may be related to the long-term feedbacks between ecosystems and climate. If the interannual temperature sensitivity is used to constrain long-term temperature responses, the inferred sensitivity may be biased by 20%, unless the seasonality of the relationship between the observed CO 2 growth rate and tropical fluxes is taken into account. Lastly, these results suggest that atmospheric data can be used directly to evaluate regional land fluxes from ESMs, but underscore that the interaction between the time scales for land surface processes and those for atmospheric processes must be considered.« less
  8. Climate change projections to the year 2100 may miss physical-biogeochemical feedbacks that emerge later from the cumulative effects of climate warming. In a coupled climate simulation to the year 2300, the westerly winds strengthen and shift poleward, surface waters warm, and sea ice disappears, leading to intense nutrient trapping in the Southern Ocean. The trapping drives a global-scale nutrient redistribution, with net transfer to the deep ocean. Ensuing surface nutrient reductions north of 30°S drive steady declines in primary production and carbon export (decreases of 24 and 41%, respectively, by 2300). Potential fishery yields, constrained by lower–trophic-level productivity, decrease bymore » more than 20% globally and by nearly 60% in the North Atlantic. Continued high levels of greenhouse gas emissions could suppress marine biological productivity for a millennium.« less
    Cited by 3
  9. Although not considered in climate models, perceived risk stemming from extreme climate events may induce behavioural changes that alter greenhouse gas emissions. Here, we link the C-ROADS climate model to a social model of behavioural change to examine how interactions between perceived risk and emissions behaviour influence projected climate change. Our coupled climate and social model resulted in a global temperature change ranging from 3.4–6.2 °C by 2100 compared with 4.9 °C for the C-ROADS model alone, and led to behavioural uncertainty that was of a similar magnitude to physical uncertainty (2.8 °C versus 3.5 °C). Model components with themore » largest influence on temperature were the functional form of response to extreme events, interaction of perceived behavioural control with perceived social norms, and behaviours leading to sustained emissions reductions. Lastly, our results suggest that policies emphasizing the appropriate attribution of extreme events to climate change and infrastructural mitigation may reduce climate change the most.« less

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