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Modulation of land-use change impacts on temperature extremes via land–atmosphere coupling over Australia

Hirsch, A.L., Pitman, A.J., Kala, J.ORCID: 0000-0001-9338-2965, Lorenz, R. and Donat, M.G. (2015) Modulation of land-use change impacts on temperature extremes via land–atmosphere coupling over Australia. Earth Interactions, 19 (12). pp. 1-24.

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The role of land–atmosphere coupling in modulating the impact of land-use change (LUC) on regional climate extremes remains uncertain. Using the Weather and Research Forecasting Model, this study combines the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment with regional LUC to assess the combined impact of land–atmosphere coupling and LUC on simulated temperature extremes. The experiment is applied to an ensemble of planetary boundary layer (PBL) and cumulus parameterizations to determine the sensitivity of the results to model physics. Results show a consistent weakening in the soil moisture–maximum temperature coupling strength with LUC irrespective of the model physics. In contrast, temperature extremes show an asymmetric response to LUC dependent on the choice of PBL scheme, which is linked to differences in the parameterization of vertical transport. This influences convective precipitation, contributing a positive feedback on soil moisture and consequently on the partitioning of the surface turbulent fluxes. The results suggest that the impact of LUC on temperature extremes depends on the land–atmosphere coupling that in turn depends on the choice of PBL. Indeed, the sign of the temperature change in hot extremes resulting from LUC can be changed simply by altering the choice of PBL. The authors also note concerns over the metrics used to measure coupling strength that reflect changes in variance but may not respond to LUC-type perturbations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Copyright: © 2015
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