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Local temperature response to land cover and management change driven by non-radiative processes

Abstract

Following a land cover and land management change (LCMC), local surface temperature responds to both a change in available energy and a change in the way energy is redistributed by various non-radiative mechanisms. However, the extent to which non-radiative mechanisms contribute to the local direct temperature response for different types of LCMC across the world remains uncertain. Here, we combine extensive records of remote sensing and in situ observation to show that non-radiative mechanisms dominate the local response in most regions for eight of nine common LCMC perturbations. We find that forest cover gains lead to an annual cooling in all regions south of the upper conterminous United States, northern Europe, and Siberia—reinforcing the attractiveness of re-/afforestation as a local mitigation and adaptation measure in these regions. Our results affirm the importance of accounting for non-radiative mechanisms when evaluating local land-based mitigation or adaptation policies.

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Figure 1: Global patterns of the energy redistribution factor.
Figure 2: Annual local surface temperature response to LCMC.
Figure 3: Non-radiative forcing index (NRFI).
Figure 4: Local effectiveness of local re-/afforestation.

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Acknowledgements

R.M.B. was supported with funding provided by The Research Council of Norway (250113/F20) and the Norwegian Ministry of Food and Agriculture (355002). J.P. was supported by German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether Program (PO 1751/1-1). A.C. was supported by EU-FP7-LUC4C (603542).

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R.M.B. conceived and scoped the study, downloaded and analysed data, produced figures, and wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed equally to the analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and revising the article critically for important intellectual content, and approving the final version to be published.

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Correspondence to Ryan M. Bright.

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Bright, R., Davin, E., O’Halloran, T. et al. Local temperature response to land cover and management change driven by non-radiative processes. Nature Clim Change 7, 296–302 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3250

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