[Eoas-seminar] REMINDER TODAY - EOAS Colloquium Feb 1 at 3:30 in CAR 101

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Fri Feb 1 10:09:08 EST 2019

Our next EOAS Colloquium speaker will be on Friday Feb 1 at 3:30 in CAR 101,

Dr. Gabe Kooperman of the University of Georgia

Title: The roles of vegetation in mediating changes in precipitation and runoff in the tropics

Abstract: In the tropics, different regions are vulnerable to a range of climate extremes, including droughts, flooding and heat waves. The prevalence of these events can be influenced by plant-physiological processes through controls on the fluxes of moisture and energy at the land-surface. Understanding the roles of plants in mediating changes in these extreme events is important because increasing CO2 is expected to affect the surface energy balance by reducing stomatal conductance and transpiration while increasing sensible heat fluxes and temperature. We assess the roles of plant-physiological responses to rising CO2 on long-term hydrological changes in the tropics using the Community Earth System Model. We show that plant responses drive a pattern of precipitation change with increases over Asian and African tropical forests and decreases over South American forests. This pattern includes a regional dipole over South America that couples decreases over the Amazon with increases over the Andes. In addition to influencing mean precipitation patterns, reduced transpiration leads to higher soil moisture in many regions, which can increase runoff and promote flooding. We find that plant-physiological effects are a dominant driver of runoff intensification, contributing to one-half of the 99th percentile rate change, with corresponding increases in downscaled flood statistics.
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