Extratropical Respones to Amazon Deforestation

Monday, 15 December 2014
Andrew Badger and Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University Fairfax, Fairfax, VA, United States
Land-use change (LUC) is known to impact local climate conditions through modifications of land-atmosphere interactions. Large-scale LUC, such as Amazon deforestation, could have a significant effect on the local and regional climates. The question remains as to what the global impact of large-scale LUC could be, as previous modeling studies have shown non-local responses due to Amazon deforestation. A common shortcoming in many previous modeling studies is the use of prescribed ocean conditions, which can act as a boundary condition to dampen the global response with respect to changes in the mean and variability.

Using fully coupled modeling simulations with the Community Earth System Model version 1.2.0, the Amazon rainforest has been replaced with a distribution of representative tropical crops. Through the modifications of local land-atmosphere interactions, a significant change in the region, both at the surface and throughout the atmosphere, can be quantified. Accompanying these local changes are significant changes to the atmospheric circulation across all scales, thus modifying regional climates in other locales. Notable impacts include significant changes in precipitation, surface fluxes, basin-wide sea surface temperatures and ENSO behavior.