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How is water-use efficiency of terrestrial ecosystems distributed and changing on Earth?

Tang, Xuguang and Li, Hengpeng and Desai, Ankur R. and Nagy, Zoltan and Luo, Juhua and Kolb, Thomas E. and Olioso, Albert and Xu, Xibao and Yao, Li and Kutsch, Werner and Pilegaard, Kim and Köstner, Barbara and Ammann, Christof (2014) How is water-use efficiency of terrestrial ecosystems distributed and changing on Earth? Scientific reports, 4. pp. 1-11. ISSN 2045-2322

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep07483


A better understanding of ecosystem water-use efficiency (WUE) will help us improve ecosystem management for mitigation as well as adaption to global hydrological change. Here, long-term flux tower observations of productivity and evapotranspiration allow us to detect a consistent latitudinal trend in WUE, rising from the subtropics to the northern high-latitudes. The trend peaks at approximately 51°N, and then declines toward higher latitudes. These ground-based observations are consistent with global-scale estimates of WUE. Global analysis of WUE reveals existence of strong regional variations that correspond to global climate patterns. The latitudinal trends of global WUE for Earth's major plant functional types reveal two peaks in the Northern Hemisphere not detected by ground-based measurements. One peak is located at 20° ~ 30°N and the other extends a little farther north than 51°N. Finally, long-term spatiotemporal trend analysis using satellite-based remote sensing data reveals that land-cover and land-use change in recent years has led to a decline in global WUE. Our study provides a new framework for global research on the interactions between carbon and water cycles as well as responses to natural and human impacts.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Published in Scientific Reports.
ID number or DOI: 10.1038/srep07483
Keywords: water-use efficiency; WUE; ecosystem; evapotranspiration; plant; hydrology;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > School of Forestry
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 16:55
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1378

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