Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2022-115
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2022-115
12 May 2022
12 May 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Precipitation rather than wind drives the response of East Asian forests to tropical cyclones

Yi-Ying Chen1 and Sebastiaan Luyssaert2 Yi-Ying Chen and Sebastiaan Luyssaert
  • 1Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 11529, Taiwan
  • 2Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1081, The Netherlands

Abstract. Forests disturbance by tropical cyclones is documented by field studies of exceptionally strong cyclones and satellite-based approaches attributing decreases in leaf area. The biases that come with such approaches may limit our understanding of the impact of cyclones in general. This study overcomes such biases by starting the analysis from the observed storm tracks rather than the observed damage. Changes in forest leaf area in East Asia were assessed by jointly analyzing the cyclone tracks, climate reanalysis, and changes in satellite-based leaf area following the passage of 145 ± 42 cyclones. Sixty days following their passage, 14 ± 6 % of the cyclones resulted in a decrease and 55 ± 21 % showed no change in leaf area compared to nearby forest outside the storm track. For a surprising 31 ± 6 % of the cyclones, an increase in leaf area was observed. Further analysis revealed that cyclones bringing abundant precipitation to dry forest soils in summer could relieve water stress within the storm track increasing its leaf area compared to vegetation outside the storm track. This observation calls for refining the present-day view of cyclones as agents of destruction toward a more nuanced vision that recognizes that cyclones could have minor or even positive effects on leaf area and as such on forest growth.

Yi-Ying Chen and Sebastiaan Luyssaert

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-115', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Jun 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Yi-Ying Chen, 21 Jul 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-115', Anonymous Referee #2, 03 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Yi-Ying Chen, 21 Jul 2022

Yi-Ying Chen and Sebastiaan Luyssaert

Data sets

Dataset and R code for analysisng the LAI change due to TCs Yi-Ying Chen https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6459795

Yi-Ying Chen and Sebastiaan Luyssaert

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Short summary
The impact of tropical cyclones on Asian forest was assessed by starting the analysis from the observed storm tracks rather than the observed damage. We demonstrate here that a larger proportion of tropical cyclones making landfall in East Asia’s mid latitudes result in increased leaf growth two months later. The finding of a common increase in forest growth following the passage of tropical cyclones is novel and calls for refining the present-day vision of cyclones as agents of destruction.
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