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Pitman A.J.,University of New South Wales | De Noblet-Ducoudre N.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Avila F.B.,University of New South Wales | Alexander L.V.,University of New South Wales | And 10 more authors.
Earth System Dynamics | Year: 2012

The impact of historical land use induced land cover change (LULCC) on regional-scale climate extremes is examined using four climate models within the Land Use and Climate, IDentification of robust impacts project. To assess those impacts, multiple indices based on daily maximum and minimum temperatures and daily precipitation were used. We contrast the impact of LULCC on extremes with the impact of an increase in atmospheric CO2 from 280ppmv to 375 ppmv. In general, consistent changes in both high and low temperature extremes are similar to the simulated change in mean temperature caused by LULCC and are restricted to regions of intense modification. The impact of LULCC on both means and on most temperature extremes is statistically significant. While the magnitude of the LULCCinduced change in the extremes can be of similar magnitude to the response to the change in CO2, the impacts of LULCC are much more geographically isolated. For most models, the impacts of LULCC oppose the impact of the increase in CO2 except for one model where the CO 2-caused changes in the extremes are amplified. While we find some evidence that individual models respond consistently to LULCC in the simulation of changes in rainfall and rainfall extremes, LULCC's role in affecting rainfall is much less clear and less commonly statistically significant, with the exception of a consistent impact over South East Asia. Since the simulated response of mean and extreme temperatures to LULCC is relatively large, we conclude that unless this forcing is included, we risk erroneous conclusions regarding the drivers of temperature changes over regions of intense LULCC. ©Author(s)2012.

De Noblet-Ducoudre N.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Boisier J.-P.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Pitman A.,University of New South Wales | Bonan G.B.,U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Climate | Year: 2012

The project Land-Use and Climate, Identification of Robust Impacts (LUCID) was conceived to address the robustness of biogeophysical impacts of historical land use-land cover change (LULCC). LUCID used seven atmosphere-land models with a common experimental design to explore those impacts of LULCC that are robust and consistent across the climate models. The biogeophysical impacts of LULCC were also compared to the impact of elevated greenhouse gases and resulting changes in sea surface temperatures and sea ice extent (CO2SST). Focusing the analysis on Eurasia and North America, this study shows that for a number of variables LULCC has an impact of similar magnitude but of an opposite sign, to increased greenhouse gases and warmer oceans. However, the variability among the individual models' response to LULCC is larger than that found from the increase in CO2SST. The results of the study show that although the dispersion among the models' response to LULCC is large, there are a number of robust common features shared by all models: the amount of available energy used for turbulent fluxes is consistent between the models and the changes in response to LULCC depend almost linearly on the amount of trees removed. However, less encouraging is the conclusion that there is no consistency among the various models regarding how LULCC affects the partitioning of available energy between latent and sensible heat fluxes at a specific time. The results therefore highlight the urgent need to evaluate land surface models more thoroughly, particularly how they respond to a perturbation in addition to how they simulate an observed average state. © 2012 American Meteorological Society.

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