Simulation of potential impacts of man-made land use changes on U.S. summer climate under various synoptic regimes


  • Zaitao Pan,

  • Eugene Takle,

  • Moti Segal,

  • Raymond Arritt


This study evaluates impacts of land use changes due to human settlement on regional summer climate over the central and western United States by performing 30-day simulations during normal, drought, and flood years. Under current land use the simulated evapotranspiration increased noticeably over the central United States where grassland has been replaced by crops. Simulated evapotranspiration decreased slightly in the western United States. These changes produced wetter and cooler surface air over the central United States and slightly drier and warmer air over the western United States. Responses of surface fluxes and thus screen height variables to land use changes were consistent from year to year, whereas rainfall showed strong interannual variations because of the combination of various dynamic processes involved in precipitation. For normal year conditions, average evapotranspiration and rainfall under current land use increased by 18% and 8%, respectively, over the central United States, whereas they slightly decreased in the western United States. In both flood and drought years, current land use exhibited a rainfall increase in the western United States and a decrease over the central United States. The decrease of rainfall with increased evapotranspiration in the central United States was likely associated with weakening of the dynamic forcing needed to produce precipitation.