Reduction of spring warming over East Asia associated with vegetation feedback

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Abstract

[1] Over East Asia, surface air temperature displays a significant increasing trend particularly in early months of the year for the period of 1982–2000. Warming per decade is strongest in late winter, 1.5°C in February and 1.1°C in March, but is significantly reduced in spring, 0.4°C in April and 0.1°C in May. During the analysis period, the reduced temperature increase from late winter to spring is found to be in contrast with the increased vegetation greenness derived from the satellite-measured leaf area index over the domain. We examined this inverse relationship using two climate model experiments— coupled with and without a dynamic vegetation model. In both experiments, strong warming in winter is relatively well reproduced, but weak warming in spring is observed only in the coupled experiment. Analysis of the surface energy budget indicates that weaker spring warming results from an evaporative cooling effect due to the increased vegetation greenness. Over East Asia, the vegetation-evaporation feedback, therefore, may produce seasonal asymmetry in the warming trend.

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