Biogeosciences, 15, 1947-1968, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-1947-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
04 Apr 2018
Plant functional diversity affects climate–vegetation interaction
Vivienne P. Groner1,2,a, Thomas Raddatz1, Christian H. Reick1, and Martin Claussen1,3 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
2International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
3Center for Earth system research and Sustainability, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
anow at: Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER) at University College London (UCL), London, UK
Abstract. We present how variations in plant functional diversity affect climate–vegetation interaction towards the end of the African Humid Period (AHP) in coupled land–atmosphere simulations using the Max Planck Institute Earth system model (MPI-ESM). In experiments with AHP boundary conditions, the extent of the green Sahara varies considerably with changes in plant functional diversity. Differences in vegetation cover extent and plant functional type (PFT) composition translate into significantly different land surface parameters, water cycling, and surface energy budgets. These changes have not only regional consequences but considerably alter large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns and the position of the tropical rain belt. Towards the end of the AHP, simulations with the standard PFT set in MPI-ESM depict a gradual decrease of precipitation and vegetation cover over time, while simulations with modified PFT composition show either a sharp decline of both variables or an even slower retreat. Thus, not the quantitative but the qualitative PFT composition determines climate–vegetation interaction and the climate–vegetation system response to external forcing. The sensitivity of simulated system states to changes in PFT composition raises the question how realistically Earth system models can actually represent climate–vegetation interaction, considering the poor representation of plant diversity in the current generation of land surface models.
Citation: Groner, V. P., Raddatz, T., Reick, C. H., and Claussen, M.: Plant functional diversity affects climate–vegetation interaction, Biogeosciences, 15, 1947-1968, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-1947-2018, 2018.
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
We show that plant functional diversity significantly affects climate–vegetation interaction and the climate–vegetation system stability in response to external forcing using a series of coupled land–atmosphere simulation. Our findings raise the question of how realistically Earth system models can actually represent climate–vegetation interaction, considering the incomplete representation of plant functional diversity in the current generation of land surface models.
We show that plant functional diversity significantly affects climate–vegetation interaction...
Share