Abstract

To elucidate the potential role of vegetation to act as a memory source in the southwestern North America climate system, we explore correlation structures of remotely sensed vegetation dynamics with precipitation, temperature and teleconnection indices over 1982-2006 for six ecoregions. We found that lagged correlations between vegetation dynamics and climate variables are modulated by the dominance of monsoonal or Mediterranean regimes and ecosystem-specific physiological processes. Subtropical and tropical ecosystems exhibit a one month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a zero- to one-month lag negative correlation with temperature, and modest negative effects of sea surface temperature (SST). Mountain forests have a zero month lag negative correlation with precipitation, a zero-one month lag negative correlation with temperature, and no significant correlation with SSTs. Deserts show a strong one-four month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a low zero-two month lag negative correlation with temperature, and a high four-eight month lag positive correlation with SSTs. The ecoregion-specific biophysical memories identified offer an opportunity to improve the predictability of land-atmosphere interactions and vegetation feedbacks onto climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044016
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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North America
Climate
Ecosystems
Ecosystem
Data storage equipment
Temperature
ecosystem
climate
Physiological Phenomena
sea surface temperature
ecoregion
vegetation dynamics
Atmosphere
Oceans and Seas
temperature
Feedback
climate feedback
vegetation
teleconnection
montane forest

Keywords

  • El Niño-Southern oscillation
  • Mexico
  • North American monsoon
  • precipitation
  • temperature
  • vegetation phenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Ecosystem biophysical memory in the southwestern North America climate system. / Forzieri, G.; Vivoni, Enrique; Feyen, L.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 8, No. 4, 044016, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "To elucidate the potential role of vegetation to act as a memory source in the southwestern North America climate system, we explore correlation structures of remotely sensed vegetation dynamics with precipitation, temperature and teleconnection indices over 1982-2006 for six ecoregions. We found that lagged correlations between vegetation dynamics and climate variables are modulated by the dominance of monsoonal or Mediterranean regimes and ecosystem-specific physiological processes. Subtropical and tropical ecosystems exhibit a one month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a zero- to one-month lag negative correlation with temperature, and modest negative effects of sea surface temperature (SST). Mountain forests have a zero month lag negative correlation with precipitation, a zero-one month lag negative correlation with temperature, and no significant correlation with SSTs. Deserts show a strong one-four month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a low zero-two month lag negative correlation with temperature, and a high four-eight month lag positive correlation with SSTs. The ecoregion-specific biophysical memories identified offer an opportunity to improve the predictability of land-atmosphere interactions and vegetation feedbacks onto climate.",
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AU - Vivoni, Enrique

AU - Feyen, L.

PY - 2013

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N2 - To elucidate the potential role of vegetation to act as a memory source in the southwestern North America climate system, we explore correlation structures of remotely sensed vegetation dynamics with precipitation, temperature and teleconnection indices over 1982-2006 for six ecoregions. We found that lagged correlations between vegetation dynamics and climate variables are modulated by the dominance of monsoonal or Mediterranean regimes and ecosystem-specific physiological processes. Subtropical and tropical ecosystems exhibit a one month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a zero- to one-month lag negative correlation with temperature, and modest negative effects of sea surface temperature (SST). Mountain forests have a zero month lag negative correlation with precipitation, a zero-one month lag negative correlation with temperature, and no significant correlation with SSTs. Deserts show a strong one-four month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a low zero-two month lag negative correlation with temperature, and a high four-eight month lag positive correlation with SSTs. The ecoregion-specific biophysical memories identified offer an opportunity to improve the predictability of land-atmosphere interactions and vegetation feedbacks onto climate.

AB - To elucidate the potential role of vegetation to act as a memory source in the southwestern North America climate system, we explore correlation structures of remotely sensed vegetation dynamics with precipitation, temperature and teleconnection indices over 1982-2006 for six ecoregions. We found that lagged correlations between vegetation dynamics and climate variables are modulated by the dominance of monsoonal or Mediterranean regimes and ecosystem-specific physiological processes. Subtropical and tropical ecosystems exhibit a one month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a zero- to one-month lag negative correlation with temperature, and modest negative effects of sea surface temperature (SST). Mountain forests have a zero month lag negative correlation with precipitation, a zero-one month lag negative correlation with temperature, and no significant correlation with SSTs. Deserts show a strong one-four month lag positive correlation with precipitation, a low zero-two month lag negative correlation with temperature, and a high four-eight month lag positive correlation with SSTs. The ecoregion-specific biophysical memories identified offer an opportunity to improve the predictability of land-atmosphere interactions and vegetation feedbacks onto climate.

KW - El Niño-Southern oscillation

KW - Mexico

KW - North American monsoon

KW - precipitation

KW - temperature

KW - vegetation phenology

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