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Multi-variate analysis of land-atmosphere interactions in a changing climate

  • 1 February, 2018
  • Wageningen University, Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
  • dr AJ Teuling
  • Dr. R. Orth

Land surface hydrology acts at the interface between soil, vegetation, and atmosphere, and therefore impacts food production, water availability, and extreme events such as droughts and floods. The interactions between land (hydrology) and atmosphere (weather) are not entirely understood. In particular, it is unclear whether or not land surface impacts on vegetation and near-surface weather are intensifying in the context of global warming. Furthermore there is yet an inadequate knowledge of the transition from an energy-limited regime where the atmosphere (temperature and incoming radiation) is driving the land (vegetation productivity, soil moisture), to a moisture-limited regime where the land can impact the atmosphere.
To advance the understanding of land-atmosphere interactions, I propose a multivariate approach and an integrated analysis of soil moisture, matric potential, gross primary production, evapotranspiration, temperature, and ancillary land surface data. With this comprehensive methodology, I will investigate land-atmosphere interactions with respect to its short- and long-term variability, its potential changes with climate change, and identify past, present and future hot spot regions of land-climate feedbacks. Moreover I will diagnose, characterise, and understand critical soil moisture and/or matric potential ranges at which a moisture-limitation of vegetation or evapotranspiration occurs. This will lead to a third characteristic matric potential, besides the well established permanent wilting point and field capacity.

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Jasper Denissen

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