, Volume 52, Issue 18, pp 2575-2583

Effects of historical land cover changes on climate

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In order to explore the influence of anthropogenic land use on the climate system during the last millennium, a set of experiments is performed with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity—the McGill Paleoclimate Model (MPM-2). The present paper mainly focuses on biogeophysical effects of historical land cover changes. A dynamic scenario of deforestation is described based on changes in cropland fraction (RF99). The model simulates a decrease in global mean annual temperature in the range of 0.09–0.16°C, especially 0.14–0.22°C in Northern Hemisphere during the last 300 years. The responses of climate system to GHGs concentration changes are also calculated for comparisons. Now, afforestation is becoming an important choice for the enhancement of terrestrial carbon sequestration and adjustment of regional climate. The results indicate that biogeophysical effects of land cover changes cannot be neglected in the assessments of climate change.

Supported by the Project of “Aridification over Northern China and Human Adaptation” (Grant No. 2006 CB400500)