Determining Robust Impacts of Land-Use-Induced Land Cover Changes on Surface Climate over North America and Eurasia: Results from the First Set of LUCID Experiments

Noblet-Ducoudré, N. de ; Boisier, J.-P. ; Pitman, A. ; Bonan, G. B. ; Brovkin, V. ; Cruz, F. ; Delire, Christine ; Gayler, V. ; van den Hurk, B. J. J. M. ; Lawrence, P. J. ; van der Molen, M. K. ; Müller, C. ; Reick, C. H. ; Strengers, B. J. ; Voldoire, Aurore

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The project Land-Use and Climate, Identification of Robust Impacts (LUCID) was conceived to address the robustness of biogeophysical impacts of historical land useland cover change (LULCC). LUCID used seven atmosphereland 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.

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