The Role of CO2 and Dynamic Vegetation on the Impact of Temperate Land-Use Change in the HadCM3 Coupled Climate Model

Edward Armstrong*, Paul J Valdes, Joanna Isobel House, Joy S Singarayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
427 Downloads (Pure)


Human-induced land-use change (LUC) alters the biogeophysical characteristics of the land surface influencing the surface energy balance. The level of atmospheric CO2 is expected to increase in the coming century and beyond, modifying temperature and precipitation patterns and altering the distribution and physiology of natural vegetation. It is important to constrain how CO2-induced climate and vegetation change may influence the regional extent to which LUC alters climate. This sensitivity study uses the HadCM3 coupled climate model under a range of equilibrium forcings to show that the impact of LUC declines under increasing atmospheric CO2, specifically in temperate and boreal regions. A surface energy balance analysis is used to diagnose how these changes occur. In Northern Hemisphere winter this pattern is attributed in part to the decline in winter snow cover and in the summer due to a reduction in latent cooling with higher levels of CO2. The CO2-induced change in natural vegetation distribution is also shown to play a significant role. Simulations run at elevated CO2, yet present-day vegetation show a significantly increased sensitivity to LUC, driven in part by an increase in latent cooling. This study shows that modeling the impact of LUC needs to accurately simulate CO2-driven changes in precipitation and snowfall and incorporate accurate, dynamic vegetation distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalEarth Interactions
Issue number10
Early online date29 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Albedo
  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • Climate change
  • Climate models
  • Geographic location/entity
  • Land surface
  • Models and modeling
  • Physical meteorology and climatology


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