Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-206
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-206

  13 Aug 2021

13 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Spatially varying relevance of hydrometeorological hazards for vegetation productivity extremes

Josephin Kroll1,, Jasper M. C. Denissen1,, Mirco Migliavacca1, Wantong Li1, Anke Hildebrandt2,3,4, and Rene Orth1 Josephin Kroll et al.
  • 1Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 2German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research–UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
  • 4Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Vegetation plays a vital role in the Earth system by sequestering carbon, producing food and oxygen, and providing evaporative cooling. Vegetation productivity extremes have multi-faceted implications, for example on crop yields or the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Here, we focus on productivity extremes as possible impacts of coinciding, potentially extreme hydrometeorological anomalies. Using monthly global satellite-based Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence data as a proxy for vegetation productivity from 2007–2015, we show that vegetation productivity extremes are related to hydrometeorological hazards as characterized through ERA5-Land reanalysis data in approximately 50 % of our global study area. For the latter, we are considering sufficiently vegetated and cloud-free regions; and we refer to hydrometeorological hazards as water or energy related extremes inducing productivity extremes. The relevance of the different hazard types varies in space; temperature-related hazards dominate at higher latitudes with cold spells contributing to productivity minima and heat waves supporting productivity maxima, while water-related hazards are relevant in the (sub)tropics with droughts being associated with productivity minima and wet spells with the maxima. Next to single hazards also compound events such as joint droughts and heat waves or joint wet and cold spells play a role, particularly in dry and hot regions. Further, we detect regions where energy control transitions to water control between maxima and minima of vegetation productivity. Therefore, these areas represent hot spots of land-atmosphere coupling where vegetation efficiently translates soil moisture dynamics into surface fluxes such that the land affects near-surface weather. Overall, our results contribute to pinpoint how potential future changes in temperature and precipitation could propagate to shifting vegetation productivity extremes and related ecosystem services.

Josephin Kroll et al.

Status: open (until 14 Oct 2021)

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Josephin Kroll et al.

Josephin Kroll et al.

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Short summary
Plant growth relies on having access to energy (solar radiation) and water (soil moisture). This
energy and water availability is impacted by weather extremes, like heat waves and droughts,
which will occur more frequently in response to climate change. In this context, we analyzed
global satellite data to detect in which regions extreme plant growth is controlled by energy
or water. We find that extreme plant growth is associated with temperature- or soil moisturerelated
extremes.
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