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Record number 406685
Title Local ecosystem feedbacks and critical transitions in the climate
Author(s) Rietkerk, M.; Brovkin, V.; Bodegom, P.M. van; Kabat, P.; Nes, E.H. van
Source Ecological Complexity 8 (2011)3. - ISSN 1476-945X - p. 223 - 228.
Department(s) Earth System Science
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) african humid period - stable states - soil-moisture - water-balance - vegetation - sahel - scale - system - variability - cover
Abstract Global and regional climate models, such as those used in IPCC assessments, are the best tools available for climate predictions. Such models typically account for large-scale land-atmosphere feedbacks. However, these models omit local vegetation-environment feedbacks that may be crucial for critical transitions in ecosystems at larger scales. In this viewpoint paper, we propose the hypothesis that, if the balance of feedbacks is positive at all scales, local vegetation-environment feedbacks may trigger a cascade of amplifying effects, propagating from local to large scale, possibly leading to critical transitions in the large-scale climate. We call for linking local ecosystem feedbacks with large-scale land-atmosphere feedbacks in global and regional climate models in order to improve climate predictions.
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