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Human modification of global water vapor flows from the land surface

Gordon, Line J.; Steffen, Will; Jönsson, Bror F.; Folke, Carl; Falkenmark, Malin and Johannessen, Åse LU (2005) In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102(21). p.7612-7617
Abstract
It is well documented that human modification of the hydrological cycle has profoundly affected the flow of liquid water across the Earth's land surface. Alteration of water vapor flows through land-use changes has received comparatively less attention, despite compelling evidence that such alteration can influence the functioning of the Earth System. We show that deforestation is as large a driving force as irrigation in terms of changes in the hydrological cycle. Deforestation has decreased global vapor flows from land by 4% (3,000 km3/yr), a decrease that is quantitatively as large as the increased vapor flow caused by irrigation (2,600 km3 yr). Although the net change in global vapor flows is close to zero, the spatial distributions of... (More)
It is well documented that human modification of the hydrological cycle has profoundly affected the flow of liquid water across the Earth's land surface. Alteration of water vapor flows through land-use changes has received comparatively less attention, despite compelling evidence that such alteration can influence the functioning of the Earth System. We show that deforestation is as large a driving force as irrigation in terms of changes in the hydrological cycle. Deforestation has decreased global vapor flows from land by 4% (3,000 km3/yr), a decrease that is quantitatively as large as the increased vapor flow caused by irrigation (2,600 km3 yr). Although the net change in global vapor flows is close to zero, the spatial distributions of deforestation and irrigation are different, leading to major regional transformations of vapor-flow patterns. We analyze these changes in the light of future land-use-change projections that suggest widespread deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa and intensification of agricultural production in the Asian monsoon region. Furthermore, significant modification of vapor flows in the lands around the Indian Ocean basin will increase the risk for changes in the behavior of the Asian monsoon system. This analysis suggests that the need to increase food production in one region may affect the capability to increase food production in another. At the scale of the Earth as a whole, our results emphasize the need for climate models to take land-use change, in both land cover and irrigation, into account. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
deforestation, irrigation, land-use changes, climate change, evapotranspiration
in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
volume
102
issue
21
pages
7612 - 7617
publisher
National Acad Sciences
external identifiers
  • scopus:19644383983
  • pmid:15890780
  • wos:000229417500039
ISSN
0027-8424
DOI
10.1073/pnas.0500208102
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
6bfa54f5-923a-48b0-8abf-585112ebe9d3
alternative location
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0500208102
date added to LUP
2017-08-18 16:50:53
date last changed
2017-11-12 04:34:31
@article{6bfa54f5-923a-48b0-8abf-585112ebe9d3,
  abstract     = {It is well documented that human modification of the hydrological cycle has profoundly affected the flow of liquid water across the Earth's land surface. Alteration of water vapor flows through land-use changes has received comparatively less attention, despite compelling evidence that such alteration can influence the functioning of the Earth System. We show that deforestation is as large a driving force as irrigation in terms of changes in the hydrological cycle. Deforestation has decreased global vapor flows from land by 4% (3,000 km3/yr), a decrease that is quantitatively as large as the increased vapor flow caused by irrigation (2,600 km3 yr). Although the net change in global vapor flows is close to zero, the spatial distributions of deforestation and irrigation are different, leading to major regional transformations of vapor-flow patterns. We analyze these changes in the light of future land-use-change projections that suggest widespread deforestation in sub-Saharan Africa and intensification of agricultural production in the Asian monsoon region. Furthermore, significant modification of vapor flows in the lands around the Indian Ocean basin will increase the risk for changes in the behavior of the Asian monsoon system. This analysis suggests that the need to increase food production in one region may affect the capability to increase food production in another. At the scale of the Earth as a whole, our results emphasize the need for climate models to take land-use change, in both land cover and irrigation, into account.},
  author       = {Gordon, Line J. and Steffen, Will and Jönsson, Bror F. and Folke, Carl and Falkenmark, Malin and Johannessen, Åse},
  issn         = {0027-8424},
  keyword      = {deforestation, irrigation,land-use changes,climate change,evapotranspiration},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  number       = {21},
  pages        = {7612--7617},
  publisher    = {National Acad Sciences},
  series       = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  title        = {Human modification of global water vapor flows from the land surface},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0500208102},
  volume       = {102},
  year         = {2005},
}