Evapotranspiration trends over the eastern United States during the 20th century

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

Most models evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate change estimate projected increases in temperature and precipitation with rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Researchers have suggested that increases in CO2 and associated increases in temperature and precipitation may stimulate vegetation growth and increase evapotranspiration (ET), which acts as a cooling mechanism, and on a global scale, may slow the climate-warming trend. This hypothesis has been modeled under increased CO2 conditions with models of different vegetation-climate dynamics. The significance of this vegetation negative feedback, however, has varied between models. Here we conduct a century-scale observational analysis of the Eastern US water balance to determine historical evapotranspiration trends and whether vegetation greening has affected these trends. We show that precipitation has increased significantly over the twentieth century while runoff has not. We also show that ET has increased and vegetation growth is partially responsible.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evapotranspiration trends over the eastern United States during the 20th century
Series title Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
DOI 10.3390/hydrology2020093
Volume 2
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher European Geophysical Society
Publisher location Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
Contributing office(s) Maine Water Science Center, New England Water Science Center
Description 19 p.
First page 93
Last page 111
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N