Equilibrium experiments with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory's climate model are used to investigate the impact of anthropogenic land cover change on climate. Regions of altered land cover include large portions of Europe, India, eastern China, and the eastern United States. Smaller areas of change are present in various tropical regions. This study focuses on the impacts of biophysical changes associated with the land cover change (albedo, root and stomatal properties, roughness length), which is almost exclusively a conversion from forest to grassland in the model; the effects of irrigation or other water management practices and the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide changes associated with land cover conversion are not included in these experiments. The model suggests that observed land cover changes have little or no impact on globally averaged climatic variables (e.g., 2-m air temperature is 0.008 K warmer in a simulation with 1990 land cover compared to a simulation with potential natural vegetation cover). Differences in the annual mean climatic fields analyzed did not exhibit global field significance. Within some of the regions of land cover change, however, there are relatively large changes of many surface climatic variables. These changes are highly significant locally in the annual mean and in most months of the year in eastern Europe and northern India. They can be explained mainly as direct and indirect consequences of model-prescribed increases in surface albedo, decreases in rooting depth, and changes of stomatal control that accompany deforestation. ?? 2007 American Meteorological Society.
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Modeled impact of anthropogenic land cover change on climate