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The change of global terrestrial ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP) and its response to climate change in CMIP5

Abstract

Using global terrestrial ecosystem observation and proxy data for net primary productivity (NPP), leaf area index (LAI), and climate data, we compared simulated NPP, LAI, and major climatic factors and explored the relationship between their variations in historical scenarios of ten Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) models. The results showed that global spatial patterns of the simulated terrestrial ecosystem and climate are consistent with proxy data, but the values have some differences for each model. Based on statistical analysis, the simulated climatic factors were found to be better than terrestrial ecosystem NPP and LAI, and the multi-model ensemble (MME) results were better than every single model. For the terrestrial ecosystem, air temperature (Ta) was found to be the major affecting factor, followed by precipitation, meaning the terrestrial ecosystem NPP and LAI are more related to Ta than precipitation. Meanwhile, surface downwelling shortwave radiation (Rsds) was found to inhibit the terrestrial ecosystem in almost all regions of the world. Between 1976 and 2005, precipitation had a slight increasing trend, Ta an obvious increasing trend, and Rsds a slight decreasing trend. The changes of precipitation, air temperature, and Rsds were favorable for the terrestrial ecosystem and for plant growth. Therefore, LAI and NPP showed an obvious increasing temporal trend, and the terrestrial ecosystem showed a positive response to climate change. All the model results showed NPP had an increasing temporal trend in the past 150 years, which also indicated that the terrestrial ecosystem has shown a positive response to climate change in that time period. In terms of the global average, the simulated NPP varied from 21.5 to 69.3 Pg C year−1, and the MME NPP is about 50.6, which was almost consistent with the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) NPP result of 55.1 and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NPP results of 60.5 Pg C year−1.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported financially by the National Basic Research Program of China (2010CB950500 and 2013CB956004), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41205076 and 41130961), the West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (29Y128871), and the Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (51Y251551). The authors thank Professor Stefan Hagemann and ISLSCP II for providing the MPIM LAI data and IGBP NPP data, and the authors also acknowledge the computing resources and time of the Supercomputing Center of Cold and Arid Region Environment and Engineering Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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Correspondence to Suosuo Li.

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Li, S., Lü, S., Zhang, Y. et al. The change of global terrestrial ecosystem net primary productivity (NPP) and its response to climate change in CMIP5. Theor Appl Climatol 121, 319–335 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-014-1242-8

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Keywords

  • Terrestrial Ecosystem
  • Leaf Area Index
  • Gross Primary Productivity
  • CMIP5 Model
  • Taylor Diagram