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Baker I.T.,Colorado State University | Denning A.S.,Colorado State University | Stockli R.,Climate Services
Tellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology | Year: 2010

Seasonality and interannual variability in North American photosynthetic activity reflect potential patterns of climate variability. We simulate 24 yr (1983-2006) and evaluate regional and seasonal contribution to annual mean gross primary productivity (GPP) as well as its interannual variability. The highest productivity occurs in Mexico, the southeast United States and the Pacific Northwest. Annual variability is largest in tropical Mexico, the desert Southwest and the Midwestern corridor. We find that no single region or season consistently determines continental annual GPP anomaly. GPP variability is dependent upon soil moisture availability in low- and mid-latitudes, and temperature in the north. Soil moisture is a better predictor than precipitation as it integrates precipitation events temporally. The springtime anomaly is the most frequent seasonal contributor to the annual GPP variability. No climate mode (i.e. ENSO, NAM) can be associated with annual or seasonal variability over the entire continent. We define a region extending from the Northeast United States through the midwest and into the southwestern United States and northern Mexico that explains a significant fraction of the variability in springtime GPP. We cannot correlate this region to a single mechanism (i.e. temperature, precipitation or soil moisture) or mode of climate variability. © 2010 The Authors Tellus B © 2010 International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm.

Baker I.T.,Colorado State University | Harper A.B.,Colorado State University | da Rocha H.R.,University of Sao Paulo | Denning A.S.,Colorado State University | And 12 more authors.
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2013

Surface ecophysiology at five sites in tropical South America across vegetation and moisture gradients is investigated. From the moist northwest (Manaus) to the relatively dry southeast (Pé de Gigante, state of São Paulo) simulated seasonal cycles of latent and sensible heat, and carbon flux produced with the Simple Biosphere Model (SiB3) are confronted with observational data. In the northwest, abundant moisture is available, suggesting that the ecosystem is light-limited. In these wettest regions, Bowen ratio is consistently low, with little or no annual cycle. Carbon flux shows little or no annual cycle as well; efflux and uptake are determined by high-frequency variability in light and moisture availability. Moving downgradient in annual precipitation amount, dry season length is more clearly defined. In these regions, a dry season sink of carbon is observed and simulated. This sink is the result of the combination of increased photosynthetic production due to higher light levels, and decreased respiratory efflux due to soil drying. The differential response time of photosynthetic and respiratory processes produce observed annual cycles of net carbon flux. In drier regions, moisture and carbon fluxes are in-phase; there is carbon uptake during seasonal rains and efflux during the dry season. At the driest site, there is also a large annual cycle in latent and sensible heat flux. © 2012.

Ceppi P.,Climate Services | Ceppi P.,University of Washington | Scherrer S.C.,Climate Services | Fischer A.M.,Climate Services | Appenzeller C.,Climate Services
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2012

Temperature is a key variable for monitoring global climate change. Here we perform a trend analysis of Swiss temperatures from 1959 to 2008, using a new 2 × 2 km gridded data-set based on carefully homogenised ground observations from MeteoSwiss. The aim of this study is twofold: first, to discuss the spatial and altitudinal temperature trend characteristics in detail, and second, to quantify the contribution of changes in atmospheric circulation and local effects to these trends. The seasonal trends are all positive and mostly significant with an annual average warming rate of 0.35 °C/decade (∼1.6 times the northern hemispheric warming rate), ranging from 0.17 in autumn to 0.48 °C/decade in summer. Altitude-dependent trends are found in autumn and early winter where the trends are stronger at low altitudes (<800 m asl), and in spring where slightly stronger trends are found at altitudes close to the snow line. Part of the trends can be explained by changes in atmospheric circulation, but with substantial differences from season to season. In winter, circulation effects account for more than half the trends, while this contribution is much smaller in other seasons. After removing the effect of circulation, the trends still show seasonal variations with higher values in spring and summer. The circulation-corrected trends are closer to the values simulated by a set of ENSEMBLES regional climate models, with the models still tending towards a trend underestimation in spring and summer. Our results suggest that both circulation changes and more local effects are important to explain part of recent warming in spring, summer, and autumn. Snow-albedo feedback effects could be responsible for the stronger spring trends at altitudes close to the snow line, but the overall effect is small. In autumn, the observed decrease in fog frequency might be a key process in explaining the stronger temperature trends at low altitudes. © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society.

Stckli R.,Climate Services | Rutishauser T.,University of Bern | Baker I.,Colorado State University | Liniger M.A.,Climate Services | Denning A.S.,Colorado State University
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences | Year: 2011

Simulations of the global water and carbon cycle are sensitive to the model representation of vegetation phenology. Current phenology models are empirical, and few predict both phenological timing and leaf state. Our previous study demonstrated how satellite data assimilation employing an Ensemble Kalman Filter yields realistic phenological model parameters for several ecosystem types. In this study the data assimilation framework is extended to global scales using a subgrid-scale representation of plant functional types (PFTs) and elevation classes. A reanalysis of vegetation phenology for 256 globally distributed regions is performed using 10 years of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) absorbed by vegetation and leaf area index (LAI) data. The 9 108 quality screened observations (corresponding to <1% of the globally available MODIS data) successfully constrain a posterior PFT-dependent phenological parameter set. It reduces the global FPAR and LAI prediction error to 20.6% and 14.8%, respectively, compared to the prior prediction error. A 50 year long (1960-2009) daily 1 × 1 global phenology data set with a mean FPAR and LAI prediction error of 0.065 (-) and 0.34 (m2 m-2) is generated. Temperate phenology is best explained by a combination of light and temperature. Tropical evergreen phenology is found to be largely insensitive to moisture and light variations. Boreal phenology can be accurately predicted from local to global scales, while temperate and mediterranean landscapes might benefit from a better subgrid-scale PFT classification or from a more complex canopy radiative transfer model. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

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