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Oecologia

, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 21–30 | Cite as

On the direct effect of clouds and atmospheric particles on the productivity and structure of vegetation

  • Michael L. Roderick
  • Graham D. Farquhar
  • Sandra L. Berry
  • Ian R. Noble
Article

Abstract

The volume of shade within vegetation canopies is reduced by more than an order of magnitude on cloudy and/or very hazy days compared to clear sunny days because of an increase in the diffuse fraction of the solar radiance. Here we show that vegetation is directly sensitive to changes in the diffuse fraction and we conclude that the productivity and structure of vegetation is strongly influenced by clouds and other atmospheric particles. We also propose that the unexpected decline in atmospheric [CO2] which was observed following the Mt. Pinatubo eruption was in part caused by increased vegetation uptake following an anomalous enhancement of the diffuse fraction by volcanic aerosols that would have reduced the volume of shade within vegetation canopies. These results have important implications for both understanding and modelling the productivity and structure of terrestrial vegetation as well as the global carbon cycle and the climate system.

Keywords

Global carbon cycle Diffuse radiation Global change Light use efficiency Mt. Pinatubo 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael L. Roderick
    • 1
  • Graham D. Farquhar
    • 1
  • Sandra L. Berry
    • 1
  • Ian R. Noble
    • 1
  1. 1.CRC for Greenhouse Accounting, Research School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Advanced StudiesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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