Cross-scale impact of climate temporal variability on ecosystem water and carbon fluxes

TitleCross-scale impact of climate temporal variability on ecosystem water and carbon fluxes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPaschalis A, Fatichi S, Katul GG, Ivanov VY
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Paginationn/a - n/a
Date Published2015

While the importance of ecosystem functioning is undisputed in the context of climate changeand Earth system modeling, the role of short-scale temporal variability of hydrometeorological forcing (~1 h)on the related ecosystem processes remains to be fully understood. Various impacts of meteorologicalforcing variability on water and carbon fluxes across a range of scales are explored here using numericalsimulations. Synthetic meteorological drivers that highlight dynamic features of the short temporal scalein series of precipitation, temperature, and radiation are constructed. These drivers force a mechanisticecohydrological model that propagates information content into the dynamics of water and carbon fluxesfor an ensemble of representative ecosystems. The focus of the analysis is on a cross-scale effect of theshort-scale forcing variability on the modeled evapotranspiration and ecosystem carbon assimilation.Interannual variability of water and carbon fluxes is emphasized in the analysis. The main study inferences aresummarized as follows: (a) short-scale variability of meteorological input does affect water and carbon fluxesacross a wide range of time scales, spanning from the hourly to the annual and longer scales; (b) differentecosystems respond to the various characteristics of the short-scale variability of the climate forcing invarious ways, depending on dominant factors limiting system productivity; (c) whenever short-scale variabilityof meteorological forcing influences primarily fast processes such as photosynthesis, its impact on theslow-scale variability of water and carbon fluxes is small; and (d) whenever short-scale variability of themeteorological forcing impacts slow processes such as movement and storage of water in the soil, the effects ofthe variability can propagate to annual and longer time scales.