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Vegetation changes and land surface feedbacks drive shifts in local temperatures over Central Asia

  • Yuan, Xiuliang
  • Wang, Wenfeng
  • Cui, Junjie
  • Meng, Fanhao
  • Kurban, Alishir
  • De Maeyer, Philippe
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Vegetation changes play a vital role in modifying local temperatures although, until now, the climate feedback effects of vegetation changes are still poorly known and large uncertainties exist, especially over Central Asia. In this study, using remote sensing and re-analysis of existing data, we evaluated the impact of vegetation changes on local temperatures. Our results indicate that vegetation changes have a significant unidirectional causality relationship with regard to local temperature changes. We found that vegetation greening over Central Asia as a whole induced a cooling effect on the local temperatures. We also found that evapotranspiration (ET) exhibits greater sensitivity to the increases of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as compared to albedo in arid/semi-arid/semi-humid regions, potentially leading to a cooling effect. However, in humid regions, albedo warming completely surpasses ET cooling, causing a pronounced warming. Our findings suggest that using appropriate strategies to protect vulnerable dryland ecosystems from degradation, should lead to future benefits related to greening ecosystems and mitigation for rising temperatures.

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