Pongratz, J, Bounoua, L, DeFries, RS, Morton, DC, Anderson, LO, Mauser, W, Klink, CA (2006). "The impact of land cover change on surface energy and water balance in Mato Grosso, Brazil". EARTH INTERACTIONS, 10, 19.
The sensitivity of surface energy and water fluxes to recent land cover changes is simulated for a small region in northern Mato Grosso, Brazil. The Simple Biosphere Model (SiB2) is used, driven by biophysical parameters derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS) at 250-m resolution, to compare the effects of different land conversion types. The mechanisms through which changes in vegetation alter surface fluxes of energy, momentum, water, and carbon are analyzed for both wet and dry seasons. It is found that morphological changes contribute to warming and drying of the atmosphere while physiological changes, particularly those associated with a plant's photosynthetic pathway, counterbalance or exacerbate the warming depending on the type of conversion and the season. Furthermore, this study's results indicate that initial clearing of evergreen and transition forest to bare ground increases canopy temperature by up to 1.7 degrees C. For subsequent land use such as pasture or cropland, the largest effect is seen for the conversion of evergreen forest to C3 cropland during the wet season, with a 21% decrease of the latent heat flux and 0.4 degrees C increase in canopy temperature. The secondary conversion of pasture to cropland resulted in slight warming and drying during the wet season driven mostly by the change in carbon pathway from C4 to C3. For all conversions types, the daily temperature range is amplified, suggesting that plants replacing forest clearing require more temperature tolerance than the trees they replace. The results illustrate that the effect of deforestation on climate depends not only on the overall extent of clearing but also on the subsequent land use type.