Biogeosciences Discuss., 10, 16075-16100, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).
Response of vegetation to the 2003 European drought was mitigated by height
S. L. Bevan, S. O. Los, and P. R. J. North
Geography Department, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK

Abstract. The effects on climate of land-cover change, predominantly from forests to crops or grassland, are reasonably well understood for low and high latitudes but are largely unknown for temperate latitudes. The main reason for this gap in our knowledge is that there are compensating effects on the energy and water balance when land cover changes. To obtain a better understanding of the direction of this response, we analyse the differential response of tall and short vegetation to the 2003 European drought. We analyse precipitation, temperature and normalized difference vegetation index data and compare these with direct measurements of vegetation height. At the height of the 2003 drought we find for tall vegetation a significantly smaller decrease in vegetation index and a smaller diurnal temperature range, indicating less water stress on tall vegetation, which can be explained by access of tall vegetation to deeper soil water. Based on these results we question the current parameterizations of short and tall vegetation in some land-surface models.

Citation: Bevan, S. L., Los, S. O., and North, P. R. J.: Response of vegetation to the 2003 European drought was mitigated by height, Biogeosciences Discuss., 10, 16075-16100, doi:10.5194/bgd-10-16075-2013, 2013.
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