Recent land cover changes and sensitivity of the model simulations to various land cover datasets for China

Liang Chen, Zhuguo Ma, Rezaul Mahmood, Tianbao Zhao, Zhenhua Li, Yanping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Reliable land cover data are important for improving numerical simulation by regional climate model, because the land surface properties directly affect climate simulation by partitioning of energy, water and momentum fluxes and by determining temperature and moisture at the interface between the land surface and atmosphere. China has experienced significant land cover change in recent decades and accurate representation of these changes is, hence, essential. In this study, we used a climate model to examine the changes experienced in the regional climate because of the different land cover data in recent decades. Three sets of experiments are performed using the same settings, except for the land use/cover (LC) data for the years 1990, 2000, 2009, and the model default LC data. Three warm season periods are selected, which represented a wet (1998), normal (2000) and a dry year (2011) for China in each set of experiment. The results show that all three sets of land cover experiments simulate a warm bias relative to the control with default LC data for near-surface temperature in summertime in most parts of China. It is especially noticeable in the southwest China and south of the Yangtze River, where significant changes of LC occurred. Deforestation in southwest China and to the south of Yangtze River in the experiment cases may have contributed to the negative precipitation bias relative to the control cases. Large LC changes in northwestern Tibetan Plateau for 2000 and 2009 datasets are also associated with changes in surface temperature, precipitation, and heat fluxes. Wind anomalies and energy budget changes are consistent with the precipitation and temperature changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-408
Number of pages14
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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