Articles | Volume 31, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 31, 995–1004, 2013
Ann. Geophys., 31, 995–1004, 2013

Regular paper 05 Jun 2013

Regular paper | 05 Jun 2013

Simulation of the influence of historical land cover changes on the global climate

Y. Wang1,2, X. Yan2,3, and Z. Wang4 Y. Wang et al.
  • 1College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for East Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10029, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology (ESPRE), College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekouwai Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China
  • 4British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge CB30ET, UK

Abstract. In order to estimate biogeophysical effects of historical land cover change on climate during last three centuries, a set of experiments with a climate system model of intermediate complexity (MPM-2) is performed. In response to historical deforestation, the model simulates a decrease in annual mean global temperature in the range of 0.07–0.14 °C based on different grassland albedos. The effect of land cover changes is most pronounced in the middle northern latitudes with maximum cooling reaching approximately 0.6 °C during northern summer. The cooling reaches 0.57 °C during northern spring owing to the large effects of land surface albedo. These results suggest that land cover forcing is important for study on historical climate change and that more research is necessary in the assessment of land management options for climate change mitigation.