Separating the Effects of Changes in Land Cover and Climate: A Hydro-Meteorological Analysis of the Past 60 yr in Saxony, Germany

Renner, Maik, Volk, Martin, Brust, Kristina, Bernhofer, Christian and Schwärzel, Kai, (2014). Separating the Effects of Changes in Land Cover and Climate: A Hydro-Meteorological Analysis of the Past 60 yr in Saxony, Germany. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18 389-405

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Renner, Maik
    Volk, Martin
    Brust, Kristina
    Bernhofer, Christian
    Schwärzel, Kai
    Title Separating the Effects of Changes in Land Cover and Climate: A Hydro-Meteorological Analysis of the Past 60 yr in Saxony, Germany
    Appearing in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
    Volume 18
    Publication Date 2014
    Place of Publication Göttingen
    Publisher Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union
    Start page 389
    End page 405
    Language eng
    Abstract Understanding and quantifying the impact of changes in climate and in land use/land cover on water availability is a prerequisite to adapt water management; yet, it can be difficult to separate the effects of these different impacts. Here, we illustrate a separation and attribution method based on a Budyko framework. We assume that ET is limited by the climatic forcing of precipitation P and evaporative demand E0, but modified by land surface properties. Impacts of changes in climate (i.e. E0/P) or land-surface changes on ET alter the two dimensionless measures describing relative water ET/P and energy partitioning ET/E0, which allows us to separate and quantify these impacts. We use the separation method to quantify the role of environmental factors on ET using 68 small to medium range river basins covering the greatest part of Saxony within the period of 1950-2009. The region can be considered a typical Central European landscape with considerable anthropogenic impacts. In the long term, most basins are found to follow the Budyko curve which we interpret as a result of the strong interactions of climate, soils and vegetation. However, two groups of basins deviate. Agriculturally dominated basins at lower altitudes exceed the Budyko curve while a set of high altitude, forested basins fall well below. When visualizing the decadal dynamics on the relative partitioning of water and energy the impacts of climatic and land surface changes become apparent. After 1960 higher forested basins experienced large land surface changes which show that the air pollution driven tree damages have led to a decline of annual ET in the order of 38%. In contrast, lower, agricultural dominated areas show no significant changes during that time. However, since the 1990s when effective mitigation measures on industrial pollution have been established, the apparent brightening and regrowth has resulted in a significant increase of ET across most basins. In conclusion, data on both, the water and the energy balance is necessary to understand how long-term climate and land cover control evapotranspiration and thus water availability. Further, the detected land surface change impacts are consistent in space and time with independent forest damage data and thus confirm the validity of the separation approach.
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2014
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.5194/hess-18-389-2014
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    Created: Mon, 14 Sep 2015, 23:07:23 JST by Claudia Matthias on behalf of UNU FLORES