Greening of the Earth and its drivers

Zhu, Zaichun; Piao, Shilong; Myneni, Ranga B.; Huang, Mengtian; Zeng, Zhenzhong; Canadell, Josep G.; Ciais, Philippe; Sitch, Stephen; Friedlingstein, Pierre; Arneth, Almut; Cao, Chunxiang; Cheng, Lei; Kato, Etsushi; Koven, Charles; Li, Yue; Lian, Xu; Liu, Yongwen; Liu, Ronggao; Mao, Jiafu; Pan, Yaozhong; ... (2016). Greening of the Earth and its drivers. Nature climate change, 6(8), pp. 791-795. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/NCLIMATE3004

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Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services1, 2. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO₂ fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO₂ fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Stocker, Benjamin

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

1758-678X

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

02 Nov 2016 09:30

Last Modified:

02 Nov 2016 09:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/NCLIMATE3004

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.89569

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/89569

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