IGBP/BAHC SSC Environment Agency of Japan
Discussions concerning global change typically concentrate on future climatic changes promulgated by changes in atmospheric chemistry, most notably increases in the so-called greenhouse gases such as CO2, CH4, and and N2O. Although the energy exchange characteristics of the Earth’s surface are an important component of climate models, the idea that changes in the terrestrial surface could also be a causal factor in climatic changes has not received much attention. Sensitivity studies with GCM’s suggested that regional climate can be dramatically changed by severe deforestation. Dickinson and Henderson-Sellers (1988) simulated the Amazon basin with complete forest cover, and then replaced with degraded grasslands. Th degraded grasslands reduced evapotranspiration so much that surface temperatures were predicted to increase by 3-5 degrees. Walker et al. (1995) used the deforestation statistics of Skole and Tucker (1993) and estimated that precipitation had been reduced by 1.2mm/day due to reductions in ET of 18% caused by landcover changes.
Running, S. W., Nemani R. R., Hibbard K. A., and Churkina G. The influence of landcover change on global terrestrial biogeochemistry. Proceedings of IGBP/BAHC-LUCC Joint Inter-Core Projects Symposium on Interactions Between the Hydrological Cycle and Land Use/Cover, November 4-7, 1996, Kyoto, Japan.