Recent land cover changes and sensitivity of the model simulations to various land cover datasets for China

Abstract

Reliable land cover data are important for improving numerical simulation by regional climate model, because the land surface properties directly affect climate simulation by partitioning of energy, water and momentum fluxes and by determining temperature and moisture at the interface between the land surface and atmosphere. China has experienced significant land cover change in recent decades and accurate representation of these changes is, hence, essential. In this study, we used a climate model to examine the changes experienced in the regional climate because of the different land cover data in recent decades. Three sets of experiments are performed using the same settings, except for the land use/cover (LC) data for the years 1990, 2000, 2009, and the model default LC data. Three warm season periods are selected, which represented a wet (1998), normal (2000) and a dry year (2011) for China in each set of experiment. The results show that all three sets of land cover experiments simulate a warm bias relative to the control with default LC data for near-surface temperature in summertime in most parts of China. It is especially noticeable in the southwest China and south of the Yangtze River, where significant changes of LC occurred. Deforestation in southwest China and to the south of Yangtze River in the experiment cases may have contributed to the negative precipitation bias relative to the control cases. Large LC changes in northwestern Tibetan Plateau for 2000 and 2009 datasets are also associated with changes in surface temperature, precipitation, and heat fluxes. Wind anomalies and energy budget changes are consistent with the precipitation and temperature changes.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2012CB956203), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41305062). L. Chen, Y. Li gratefully acknowledges the support from the Global Institute of Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan.

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Correspondence to Liang Chen.

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Responsible Editor: X.-Y. Huang.

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Chen, L., Ma, Z., Mahmood, R. et al. Recent land cover changes and sensitivity of the model simulations to various land cover datasets for China. Meteorol Atmos Phys 129, 395–408 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00703-016-0478-5

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Keywords

  • Land Cover
  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Regional Climate Model
  • Land Cover Change
  • Land Cover Data