06.27.2017

Attribution of surface temperature anomalies induced by land use and land cover changes

Abstract

Land use/land cover changes (LULCC) directly impact the surface temperature by modifying the radiative, physiological, and aerodynamic properties controlling the surface energy and water balances. In this study, we propose a new method to attribute changes in the surface temperature induced by LULCC to changes in radiative and turbulent heat fluxes, with the partition of turbulent fluxes controlled by aerodynamic and surface resistances. We demonstrate that previous attribution studies have overestimated the contribution of aerodynamic resistance by assuming independence between the aerodynamic resistance and the Bowen ratio. Our results further demonstrate that acceptable agreement between modeled and observed temperature anomalies does not guarantee correct attribution by the model. When performing an attribution analysis, the covariance among attributing variables needs to be taken into consideration in order to accurately interpret the results. This article appeared on the Geophysical Research Letters website at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL073811/full
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