Effects of tropical deforestation on global hydroclimate: A multimodel ensemble analysis

Natalia Hasler, David Werth, Roni Avissar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two multimodel ensembles (MME) were produced with the GISS Model II (GM II), the GISS Atmosphere Model (AM), and the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM) to evaluate the effects of tropical deforestation on the global hydroclimate. Each MME used the same 48-yr period but the two were differentiated by their land-cover types. In the "control" case, current vegetation was used, and in the "deforested" case, all tropical rain forests were converted to a mixture of shrubs and grassland. Globally, the control simulations produced with the three GCMs compared well to observations, both in the time mean and in the temporal variability, although various biases exist in the different tropical rain forests. The local precipitation response to deforestation is very strong. The remote effect in the tropics (away from the deforested tropical areas) is strong as well, but the effects at midlatitudes are weaker. In the MME, the impacts tend to be attenuated relative lo the individual models. The significance of the geopotential and precipitation responses was evaluated with a bootstrap method, and results varied during the year. Tropical deforestation also produced anomalous fluxes in potential energy that were a direct- response to the deforestation. These different analyses confirmed the existence of a teleconnection mechanism due to deforestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1141
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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