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Environ Monit Assess. 2014 Dec;186(12):8473-86. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-4031-z. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Quantifying the effect of trend, fluctuation, and extreme event of climate change on ecosystem productivity.

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Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, People's Republic of China,


Climate change comprises three fractions of trend, fluctuation, and extreme event. Assessing the effect of climate change on terrestrial ecosystem requires an understanding of the action mechanism of these fractions, respectively. This study examined 11 years of remotely sensed-derived net primary productivity (NPP) to identify the impacts of the trend and fluctuation of climate change as well as extremely low temperatures caused by a freezing disaster on ecosystem productivity in Hunan province, China. The partial least squares regression model was used to evaluate the contributions of temperature, precipitation, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) to NPP variation. A climatic signal decomposition and contribution assessment model was proposed to decompose climate factors into trend and fluctuation components. Then, we quantitatively evaluated the contributions of each component of climatic factors to NPP variation. The results indicated that the total contribution of the temperature, precipitation, and PAR to NPP variation from 2001 to 2011 in Hunan province is 85 %, and individual contributions of the temperature, precipitation, and PAR to NPP variation are 44 % (including 34 % trend contribution and 10 % fluctuation contribution), 5 % (including 4 % trend contribution and 1 % fluctuation contribution), and 36 % (including 30 % trend contribution and 6 % fluctuation contribution), respectively. The contributions of temperature fluctuation-driven NPP were higher in the north and lower in the south, and the contributions of precipitation trend-driven NPP and PAR fluctuation-driven NPP are higher in the west and lower in the east. As an instance of occasionally triggered disturbance in 2008, extremely low temperatures and a freezing disaster produced an abrupt decrease of NPP in forest and grass ecosystems. These results prove that the climatic trend change brought about great impacts on ecosystem productivity and that climatic fluctuations and extreme events can also alter the ecosystem succession process, even resulting in an alternative trajectory. All of these findings could improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change on the provision of ecosystem functions and services and can also provide a basis for policy makers to apply adaptive measures to overcome the unfavorable influence of climate change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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