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          Institute: MPI für Meteorologie     Collection: Land in the Earth System     Display Documents

ID: 533690.0, MPI für Meteorologie / Land in the Earth System
Holocene vegetation and biomass changes on the Tibetan Plateau: a model-pollen data comparison
Authors:Dallmeyer, A.; Claussen, M.; Herzschuh, U.; Fischer, N.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2011
Title of Journal:Climate of the Past Discussions
Journal Abbrev.:Clim. Past Disc.
Start Page:1073
End Page:1111
Review Status:not specified
Abstract / Description:Results of a transient numerical experiment, performed in a coupled atmosphere-ocean-vegetation model with orbital forcing alone, are compared to pollen-based vegetation reconstructions from four representative sites on the Tibetan Plateau, covering the last 6000 years. Causes of the vegetation change and consequences for the biomass storage are analysed. In general, simulated and reconstructed vegetation trends at each site are in good agreement. Both methods reveal a general retreat of the biomass-rich vegetation that is particularly manifested in a strong decrease of forests. However, model and reconstructions differ with regard to the climatic factors causing this vegetation change. The reconstructions primarily identify decreasing summer monsoon precipitation as the responsible mechanism for the vegetation shift. In the model, the land cover change originates from differences in near-surface air temperature arising out of orbitally-induced insolation changes. According to the model results, the averaged forest fraction on the Plateau is shrinking by almost one-third from mid-Holocene (41.4%) to present-day (28.3%). Shrubs, whose fraction is quadrupled at present-day (12.3%), replace most of this forest. Gras fraction increases from 38.9% during the mid-Holocene to 42.3% at present-day. This land cover change results in a decrease of living biomass by 0.62 kgC m-2. Total biomass on the Tibetan Plateau decreases by 1.9 kgC m-2, i.e. approx. 6.64 PgC are released due to the natural land cover change. © 2011 Author(s).
External Publication Status:accepted
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:Kauhs
Affiliations:MPI für Meteorologie/Land in the Earth System (2005-)
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