Biophysical effect of conversion from croplands to grasslands in water-limited temperate regions of China.

Affiliation

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The biophysical effect of land use and land cover change (LUCC) on regional climatic regulation is currently of growing interest. However, in water-limited temperate regions, the net biophysical effect of conversion from croplands to grasslands on regional climatic regulation remains poorly understood to date. To answer this concern, a modified land surface model (mEASS) and two different land use scenarios in a typical study area of the Loess Plateau of China were used in this study. We first validated the performances of mEASS model by using observations from six flux tower sites with different land cover and three metrics of the coefficient of determination (R2), the root mean square error (RMSE) and the difference between the simulated and observed data (bias). Subsequently, the biophysical effect of conversion from croplands to grasslands was investigated. Results indicated that mEASS model could well capture the seasonal dynamics of net radiation and latent heat with high R2 and lower RMSE and bias at grassland, forest and cropland sites. In the context of semi-arid and semi-humid climatic conditions, conversion from croplands to grasslands caused the cooling effect (-0.3 W/m2) at the annual scale. Similar cooling effects were found in spring (-0.4 W/m2), autumn (-0.8 ± 0.1 W/m2) and winter (-0.9 ± 0.1 W/m2). The decreased latent heat (inducing warming effects) were completely offset by decreased net radiation (inducing cooling effects), which were responsible for the net cooling effects. However, a warming effect with 1.0 ± 0.1 W/m2 was observed in summer. This is because that magnitude of decreased latent heat is greater than that of decreased net radiation in summer. These findings will enrich our understanding for the biophysical effect of conversion from croplands to grasslands in water-limited temperate regions.

Keywords

Land use change,Latent heat,Net radiation,Temperature regulation,Water-limited temperate regions,